Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM - June 2014



Welcome to Insecure Writer's Support Group day, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place for you and you'd like to join, click here.

It's a simple process:

"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post."

Our Twitter Hashtag is #IWSG


Alex's other awesome co-hosts for today are C. Lee McKenzie, Tracy Jo, Melanie Schulz, and LG Keltner! Please stop by and thank them for their time. 

Please help us spread the word about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website. And if you don't already know we have a IWSG Facebook site too.




IWSG Facebook Guidelines:

1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.

2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG'ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...

3. Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link for any news you may have. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.


Now it's time for another post by my IWSG guest host Phyllis Zimbler Miller. If you have a question for Phyllis for our next IWSG (first Wednesday of the month), please forward your question to cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I'm make certain she receives it. 

If you've missed any of Phyllis's posts, just type in Ask PZM in the search window on the right and it'll take you to all of them. 





Q: Is it worthwhile hiring a PR firm to market my books?

The answer to this question depends on several variables.

First, let us assume that you have a marketing budget that can cover the cost of a PR firm’s campaign, which frequently requires a number of months.

What goals do you want this campaign to achieve? Name recognition, validity for future writing projects, book sales?

If you are hoping for big sales, the question becomes:

How will you feel if you get great publicity in numerous places yet do not sell any books?

And, yes, this can happen.

But before you cross off the idea of paying for a PR campaign, consider what else you might achieve:

There is a marketing adage that people need to see a particular message several times before acting on that message. The same can go for name recognition of you or your book.

Having a PR firm get you publicity in places that you could not do so for yourself has the important advantage of getting your name and book in front of new people. And while these people might not buy your book now, if they come across more publicity about you at a later date, they might be motivated to buy your book then.

Then there is the scenario that you have a second book ready to go and want to get attention for that book from agents and/or book publishers. Being able to share links of multiple publicity features for your first book could have a very positive impact on these agents and book publishers.

It is important before hiring a PR firm to know what achievements are most important to you and whether traditional publicity or digital publicity fits better with these goals.

When reviewing what a firm is offering to do for you for a set price and set number of months, make sure that you and the firm are on the same wavelength. A PR company offering a certain number of followers on Twitter, for example, might not fit well with your main priority of getting book reviews in certain publications.

Another important consideration is how much work you are committed to do yourself for a specific PR campaign. If, for example, you are paying for a company to set up a blog tour for you, clarify how many blog posts in what amount of time you will be responsible for writing.

You will also need to know how many physical books you will be required to provide for a PR company’s review campaign for your book. Will the PR company pay for and do the shipping of these books, or will this be your responsibility?

If you have flexibility in the amount of money you are spending on a PR campaign, you may want to pay a company more if the company will handle these shipping chores. Or you may decide that you are happy to do the shipping yourself.

Although deciding to invest in a PR campaign is something that each author has to decide for herself and himself, this decision should be based on careful consideration of the various factors.


Q. What is #MSWL on Twitter?

#MSWL – Manuscript Wish List – is an organized chat that takes place on Twitter in which agents and editors tweet about the books that they are interested in acquiring and include the hashtag #MSWL.

(It is not, regardless of any such tweets you may see, a place to promote your published book for people to buy.)

You do not need to be present during the actual organized chat to see this list. Instead you can put #MSWL in the search bar of Twitter and see the tweets that have been posted with this hashtag. (Agents and editors may add tweets with this hashtag at times other than the organized chat.)

Sometimes the link for submission is put into the #MSWL tweet. Other times you have to click on the person’s Twitter username and read that person’s bio for the link to the agent or publisher site where manuscripts can be submitted.

Although there has been another way of seeing this list by going to http://agentandeditorwishlist.tumblr.com/ – when I checked in order to write this reply I noticed that the list on Tumblr has not been updated recently.

This may be because there is now a dedicated site for this list where you can search by book genre – check it out at mswishlist.com

TWEET #1 -  Is it worthwhile hiring a PR firm to market your books? (Click to tweet)

TWEET #2 - The cons of using a PR Firm to market your book. (Click to tweet)

TWEET #3 - Understanding #MSWL on Twitter.  (Click to tweet)





Phyllis Zimbler Miller on Twitter is at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller and she is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon. Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction books at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/keep-in-touch/


57 comments :

  1. Hey, thanks for these suggestions! I have a couple books SO CLOSE to query ready and I love having a tool to see if there is someone looking for those genres!

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    1. I'm in the same boat, Hart. Haha, even my horoscope says I'm ready to query.

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  2. I've never thought about using a PR firm, but maybe I should someday.

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    1. I think you're your own PR firm, Alex. You don't really need one.

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  3. I love reading the advice from Phyllis. I'm still trying to get the hang of Twitter chats but it's obvious they can be so helpful in so many ways.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Connecting with Phyllis has made a huge difference in my career, so I'm very glad to hear that, Julie. I want us all to benefit from her experience and knowledge. Happy IWSG day.

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  4. I'd be tempted to use a PR firm if I really believed they'd do more than I'm doing myself. Her advice is excellent and she might have me thinking about asking for help.

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    1. I would too, if I could afford them. Mostly because I'm so swamp, and I know there's more stuff I should be doing. Thanks, Lee.

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    2. There's never enough time, is there?

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  5. I appreciate Phyllis's advice! Thanks to both of you. You are helping us writers feel a little less insecure. In my book, that's a huge blessing! :)

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    1. Karen, it's a joy working with out blogging community. A joy and an honour. Thanks for your support!

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  6. I'm a do-it-yourself type of person, but I enjoyed reading this post. Very interesting...

    IWSG #215 until Alex culls the list again.

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    1. Best way to have full control too. Thanks, Melissa. Happy IWSG.

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  7. Important considerations. Thanks.

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  8. Really enjoyed the insight on PR firms though I'm far from having a need of it. Great twitter tips from Phyllis as always!

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  9. This was informative, but I'm such a long way from hiring a PR firm! Wow! I never even thought about that before. Thanks!

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    1. A long way is okay. Much better than no way, eh! Happy IWSG, Fundy. Notting Hill here you come!

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  10. I'm not ready for a PR firm yet, but thanks for the info on the manuscript wish list.!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Ken. Much appreciated.

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  11. I've never used a PR firm, partly because I don't have the budget, but also because they would have to be able to do something I couldn't. Like TV commercials. At the same time, I'd love to have someone else handle promotion while I focus on things like actual writing.

    That MSWL hashtag is a great resource. I want to go through it, find one I can write, and crank that baby out.

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  12. I've never used a PR person before, although I've often considered it. Thanks for the insight.

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    1. You're very welcome. And yes, if I could afford it, I'd try a PR Firm.

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  13. Some interesting thoughts that I hadn't considered before. Thanks for the insight.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Suzanne. Have a great day.

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  14. Good information. Like someone else said not really in my budget right now, but also something I had not thought about. Thanks for sharing.

    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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    1. Thanks for taking time to visit, Juneta. Appreciate it!

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  15. I've used a PR agent for media releases before and it was well worth the money spent. Paul put the release together and sent it out to a huge list of specific contacts. And he helped with follow up. All for a very reasonable fee.

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    1. That is awesome to hear, Diane. I thought PR's were expensive. I heard that one author paid $50 grand. Ouch. She made a few million though.

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  16. I enjoyed reading this post. Very interesting...thanks for sharing such great advice!

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  17. Hey Joylene,

    Another engrossing article by Phyllis. I cannot possibly think as to why I would need a PR firm. Although, I'm sure it could be a worthwhile resource for those who could use the extra publicity. That hashtag does intrigue.

    Because it stated, "please" click to tweet, I shall duly do that.

    Take care, eh.

    Gary

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    1. Gary, you are such a fine fellow. The Cary Grant of blogland!

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  18. I was stressing, feeling like I wasn't doing enough to promote my book, when a friend sent me a link to an article. It was something along the lines of, "The trouble with buying your way onto the NYT bestseller list." They were talking about people who buy up copies of their own books and pay publicists to annoy everyone until they read it... It made a point that was a little of a wake-up call. Of course, you want people to know about your book as much as possible, but you really want it to build momentum because it's good, not because you took out a billboard in Times Square, if that makes sense. So I'm not sure shelling out $$$ for a publicist is such a good idea...

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    1. You have a point, Stephanie. For sure. But the problem many authors have is knowing how to reach the readers. It's a lot of work and a PR firm would probably ease the burden. I'm guessing.

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  19. Not even thinking about hiring a PR firm. I know a few peeps (with more $ than me) who did it and it made no difference to sales. My books should make me money - I shouldn't have to pay to support them. Thanks very much for the wishlist link. I have an agent, but it's nice to know what people are looking for.

    (OMG, I got laid low with heat stroke -- on my b-day week, dang it -- and totally forgot about IWSG! Oops....)

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    1. Heat stroke--holy cow, Lexa. Glad you're okay.

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  20. I've been seeing a lot about PR firms lately. Guess the use of them is on the upswing. Thanks for all the info about MSWL. That will be very nice to look through.

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    1. You're welcome, Sara. Thanks for stopping by.

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  21. PR firms probably cost a fortune. And there are no guarantees that it will mean more sales...
    I enjoyed the post. Thanks ladies.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Michelle.

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  22. I hadn't considered using a PR firm. I still think the best PR is writing a really great story. :)

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  23. You raise great questions and thoughts about hiring a PR firm and since I am not a writer like you and so many others these thoughts are valid. It does come down to money and if they are good and what you want from them. Once can have a great book but not be recognized until many years later when it is "discovered". One needs to have a suit of armour on when trying to get one's book published and noticed

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    1. A suit of armour--that's exactly right, Birgit. That and a hard hat. Happy Belated Birthday!

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  24. I didn't know about #MSWL. I'll have to check it out.

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    1. Hi Lynda. Let us know what you think if you get a chance to. Thanks, eh.

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  25. Marketing is the toughest part to me. I didn't know about that hashtag either. Will be checking that out.

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    1. Glad to hear that, Miranda. Thanks for stopping by.

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  26. Hi, Joylene! Interesting information.

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  27. Hi Joylene .. interesting post - Marketing is such a challenge for everyone. I think it's starting small and slowly building .. and I haven't got any books out there, though hope to soon .. I think the blogging fraternity will help a great deal ... and I look to the long tail ...

    But the social media side is something I need to get into ... and understand let alone do .. cheers to you both - Hilary

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    1. I'm very excited for your book to come out, Hilary. It'll be a grand day.

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  28. What a great post! Definitely gives writers a lot to think about when getting ready to promote their book. The detail that hits home with me is the fact that people need to be exposed to a message a certain number of times before they buy in, so it is an important reminder that book titles need to be out there a lot in order to get readers to pick up a copy. :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. That's so true. Definitely works for commercials.

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