Cinnabar Bridge

February 13, 2009

Context matters

Filed under: books,marketing | sales — phwebnet @ 5:28 pm
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My president’s letter for the BAIPA News [January 2009]

I read an article the other day about a fine classical musician playing his Stradivarius violin in the subway in Washington DC during rush hour. The experiment, by the Washington Post, was filmed to see what would happen.

The violinist, Joshua Bell, played for 43 minutes while 1097 people passed by. The environment he was playing in was at the top of some escalators with a shoeshine stand and a busy kiosk selling lottery tickets, magazines and newspapers nearby. Nothing happened for three minutes – when someone actually looked at him playing. He got his first donation soon after. No one even stopped to listen until six minutes had passed. In all, seven people stopped to listen for at last one minute — 7 out of 1097. Less than 1%.

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December 25, 2008

The reluctant marketer

My president’s letter for the BAIPA News [January 2009]

You know you have to do it. You know books won’t sell without it. But what if you are a reluctant marketer?

What if you hate selling? Promoting yourself? What if you are shy? Or can’t imagine doing any of John Kremer’s “1001 Ways to Market Your Books.”

Egads, what do you do then?

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August 12, 2008

Think about content

Another of my letters for the BAIPA News [August 2008]

Many think we in the book world are an endangered species. That in the brave new world there will be no books. It reminds me of radio in the 50s when television hit the country. It was going to be the end of radio. Oh my gosh, with pictures on TV who would want to just listen to a radio. And radio did suffer. Their audience declined, the industry moaned and groaned. And today with satellite radio and the Internet and podcasts and rss feeds, radio (audio programs) is thriving. That’s what happening to publishing.

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July 12, 2008

Finding the right energy

Another letter for the BAIPA News [July 2008]

Being an author and a publisher can pull at us in different ways – and being small, independent publishers means that there are dozens of tasks we need to complete on a regular basis. Some days I get up gung-ho and step right into the external tasks on my plate – calling people, making connections, negotiating, asking for help. And some days I turn off my phone and write or read. I used to fight this. I used to push myself to make those calls or I’d get angry with myself if I couldn’t sit down and read a manuscript or write.

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July 3, 2007

TOC conference – afterthoughts

I went to the TOC (Tools of Change) conference in San Jose a week or so ago. It was all about publishing and how it’s changing. And about the tools others are using to move this industry into the 21st century.

It was a great conference. It was a mix of novice sessions and advanced. Since I’ve been online since, yikes!, 1985, and I built my own early sites in Notepad, some of the basic electronic / web stuff I already knew. But, there was plenty I didn’t. In addition, I met a lot of people, which was really the highlight of the conference. Who came, and who didn’t was really interesting.

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June 11, 2007

Tools of Change conference

Hope to meet up with you at the Tools of Change Conference put on by O’Reilly Media. I’m looking forward to hearing about all the changes happening in the publishing world. I’m sure I’ll be exhausted when I come home, but they have some great speakers lined up: Chris Anderson, Tim O’Reilly, John Ingram.

I love books and writing and publishing — at least the book world. And now I’m gonna sit and absorb what others have to say aboaut what’s happening. It’s an exciting time and O’Reilly are certainly qualified to put on a conference like this. I heard that at BEA much of the conversaton was about technology and how the book world is changing.

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May 17, 2007

The changing face of publishing

We all know publishing is changing. From Craig’s List to The Wall Street Journal to print on demand, technology has changed and is continuing to change how we publish books, magazines, content. How do we know what is going to last and what is a fad? How do we know when to invest and when to stand and watch? How do we know who knows what they are talking about?

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June 8, 2006

Judging a book by its cover

We don’t like to think we are so shallow. Judging a book by its cover has come to have many levels of meaning in our culture. We don’t want to be shallow, but we all seem up against the belief that pretty ones do better in the world and life. That how we present ourselves to the world matters — from getting a partner to making more money.

Well, with books it’s the same thing. In our time challenged lives, we make choices all the time about stuff based on first impressions. I read somewhere that bookstore visitors spend about 8 seconds on the front cover of a book and if they turn to the back cover, they spend another 15 seconds. So, you tell me. Is the cover important?

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April 21, 2006

Anecdotal

Okay, so you’ve written that novel. And you’re publishing it yourself. Now what? Do you have what it takes to market your book? To sell enough copies to make it a success? I talked with one author who has done just that. Yes, it takes effort. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s scary. But it can be exciting, too.

Cinnabar Books blog I met J.Brooks Dann the other day for coffee at the Starbucks on 4th at Brannan, in SOMA. We had been introduced by a mutual friend and had met face to face at a BAIPA meeting. We got to talking about his book, Anecdotal, a novel he has written and is marketing successfully.

We talked about how he has achieved the success he has with his book. What stuck with me is: “I’m not afraid to get out there and sell my book.”

He has distribution in about 30 bookstores now. But what’s really interesting is how he got that distribution and what else he has done to sell his books. He holds readings — in bookstores and bars… mostly in the West. He meets store managers and owners face to face. He delivers the books to the stores. He travels. He makes himself vulnerable. He opens himself to rejection, to slings and arrows, and people being insensitive and critical.

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