Why you should welcome bad reviews for your books and products

Bad Review

More than 6 out of 10 people read one or more product reviews on a shopping site before deciding whether to buy.

But how many of those people do you think hear their B.S. detector going off when all the reviews on the company’s website are 5-star, and there’s not a lousy review in the bunch?

That’s what happens to me.

I can’t help but wonder if the product creator or book author used one of those sleazy paid services to collect nothing but sterling reviews. Or maybe they wrote the reviews themselves.

Consumer reviews are perceived as being more trustworthy than the most glowing sales copy written by the manufacturer, especially when not-so-great reviews are among them. Bad reviews make the good ones more credible. 

That’s why you should welcome bad book or product reviews, and don’t get rattled, as long as they’re outnumbered by good reviews.

And when you see a bad review, don’t get huffy and defensive and get into an argument with the reviewer. 

When I present the webinar How to Ask for Book or Product Reviews from Journalists, Blogger sand Consumers from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Feb. 13, I’ll explain three more reasons you should welcome bad reviews:

1. They encourage lively discussion and attention.

Some of the most interesting discussions occur between reviewers who disagree on whether a book or product is worth buying. And that controversy sparks even more people to join the fray. Many of them link to the discussion from their social media profiles because they want their followers to know their opinions.

That means more attention for you. 

2. Bad reviews encourage supporters to come to your defense.

Consumers who love your product might not be inclined to review it until they read a review from someone who hates it. Just one bad review can encourage dozens of loyal fans to weigh in. 

3. Bad reviews can make you aware of problems you didn’t know existed.

If someone is reviewing your website, they might mention bad links that lead to 404 error pages. A blogger who is reviewing an ebook you’ve written might mention typos and other formatting problems—things that often can be fixed immediately. A consumer might point out a cumbersome feature in a product that you can improve during the next manufacturing process.

Now that you know why you need reviews, even bad ones, it’s time to start asking for them. If you’re not quite sure whom to pitch, or how to ask, join me for Thursday’s product review webinar when I show you exactly how to find reviewers who are interested in what you’ve created, and how to convince them to say “yes” to your request for a review. 

5 Free Fill-in-the-Blank Review Request Templates  

If you can’t write very well, you’ll love the five sample fill-in-the-blank review requests that you’ll receive as a bonus after the webinar.

The email pitches will send the message, “I know who you are, I know what you do, I have something you might be interested in, and I value your opinion.” Much of what I’ll be teaching will also shorten your research time considerably because I’ll show you some shortcuts that will help you find reviewers who are a good fit so you aren’t wasting your time or theirs.

Register for Thursday’s session here, even if you can’t attend live. I’m recording it, and you’ll receive the video replay and all the bonuses within 72 hours after the call.

Dog Tweets of the Week–8 Reasons to Hire a Journalist in your Marketing Department

twitter birdHere are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

Eight Reasons to Hire a Journalist in Your Marketing Department
Here are examples of a journalist’s CV, listing the various daily duties and (in red) how those skills can benefit your content marketing.

Yahoo list says PR specialists will replace reporters
Public relations jobs are expected to jump 23 percent from 2010-2020, while journalism jobs are expected to fall eight percent. Yahoo contends that PR specialists will replace reporters sometime in the near future.

16 People Who Tweeted Themselves Into Unemployment
Twitter may limit you to 140 characters or less, but that’s actually more than enough room to stick your foot in your mouth. These people know that firsthand.

Wacky Instagram alternative lets you have photos with stickers, captions & more
Instagram makes photos prettier. Molome makes photos funnier.” This is the selling point of Thailand-based mobile photo startup Molome.

Authors: List of 23 gift shops in U.S. focused on state-related gifts and books
Most states have privately owned gift shops that feature products made in that state (or have other connections to that state). The following state gift shops should feature your books.

Reporter-speak: Words and phrases PR pros should know
The nomenclature of a newsroom shouldn’t be a mystery. Mastering a few key terms will help you communicate with journalists, while bolstering your credibility among members of the Fourth Estate.

7 consumer trends to run with in 2014 [Piggyback publicity onto these]
No matter what market or industry you’re in, if you’re obsessed with catering to evolving consumer needs, desires and expectations, you will prosper through even the most insane global upheavals, whatever their flavor.

Why is your Klout score not reflecting real-time social activity?
When it comes to social measurement Klout has been the leader since its beginning in 2008; and, is the first company to create a proprietary measurement algorithm on perceived social influence.

Five Twitter Accounts That Give Great Customer Service
At a time when 53% of all businesses in the United States are using social media as a customer service channel, it’s time to take a look at the companies who are succeeding with Twitter as a primary customer service platform. The best practices and interactions used by the companies below go a long way with regard to extending their brand and showcasing their commitment to providing excellent customer service:

7 Tools That Make it Easy to Organize and Simplify Your Blogging Life
Let’s face it, blogging is a ton of work. You’ve got to keep up with your social media profiles, create and organize tons of content (both in written and video form), and you’ve got to market like crazy just to stay relevant. And this is on top of our other duties. It’s definitely a crazy blogging world we live in, but there’s a way to tone down the craziness just a little bit.

Author items to include in your New Media Age press kit

I am no longer a big fan of the traditional physical press kit with its glossy paper folder and numerous information/photo sheets placed into the inside pockets of the glossy paper folder.

Yet I do think that authors have to consider what could constitute a press kit for our New Media Age.

To begin with, let’s think physical. And business cards used by authors can be a good idea for real life networking events. But be savvy — I know I wasn’t at first.

Originally I made separate cards for separate books of mine.  Then I wrote several more books and I wasn’t going to carry multiple cards around.  Plus, I changed the cover of both books that were on the cards I had already made.

What I should have done, even when I only had one book, was have a card that emphasized my author website and appropriate social media touch points. Then, as I self-published more books — and added these to the website — the card would still be correct.

Postcards and Bookmarks Are Problems, Too

In the past, I was a fan of postcards for each book. But this too has the drawback of how many different postcards you can carry around with you — and what if you change the cover? Or better yet, win an award that you would like to add to the postcard text?

Third, I was a fan of bookmarks. Yet the same drawbacks occur with these as with cards and postcards. If you do spend money on bookmarks, focus on your author website and perhaps your Amazon Author Central profile.

I now believe that all physical publicity info should lead back to your author website (and that you control that website).

OK, cards, postcards and bookmarks are not enough. What else do you need?

Help Readers Find You on Social Media

Besides really good information about your books and yourself on your author website, you need social media touch points and social media participation where potential and current fans can find you and connect with you.

And, as a writer, you need to blog. Yes, you need to write posts for your own blog and guest posts for other blogs as part of what would formerly be articles placed inside a physical press kit.

Shorten these blog post links via a link shortener service (such as budurl.com or bit.ly) and share these links with publicity contacts as if you were sharing physical printouts of your posts.

The best part of using social media to send people to your author website rather than mailing a physical press kit is that you can change information instantly. No need, for example, to toss out tons of obsolete flyers and reprint new ones because your book won an award that you now want to feature on your flyers.

I would suggest storing as a Word doc a list of the links you would most like to share if a reporter or publicist asks you for a press kit. Then you can simply copy and paste these pre-chosen links into an email.  (I suspect the person on the other end will be much happier to receive this email with links than a press kit in the mail. And, oh yes, the environment also thanks you!)

The Kinds of Links to Share

What links might you want to share with a reporter or publicist?  Of course, the links you share depend on what the person wants to know about you.  But let’s consider the options:

1.  You could share a book’s link on Amazon. 

But if you want the publicist to read the best review or all the reviews of your book, it is better to send the direct link (known as the permalink).  Let me give an example:

If you look at any book review on Amazon, off to the right you will see “Permalink.” 

Permalink for a book review on amazon

 

Click on that and then in your browser window you will find the direct link to that specific review, which you can then share.  For example, my spy thriller CIA FALL GUY just got this five-star review from someone I do not know. 

Now you may want people to go directly to all your reviews for a specific book.  Why not send people to your book page then?  Because the reviews are far down on the book page and are separated into two different groups (“Most Helpful Customer Reviews” as decided by Amazon’s algorithms and “Most Recent Customer Reviews”).  People can get easily distracted before they ever get to the reviews.

To get the permalink for all the reviews, scroll down on your book’s page and click on “See all customer reviews (newest first).”  You will be on the page with all the reviews and you can copy the permalink from the browser window.   You can see all reviews for CIA FALL GUY here.

(Note that the default is “Most Helpful First” — you have to scroll down and click on “Newest First” to get the whole list sorted that way.)

There is a risk with sharing the permalink to all your reviews.  For example, in the case of CIA FALL GUY, I recently had a very successful KDP Select free book giveaway.  But with success comes the downside — some people who are not the target audience for the book read it (because they got it for free) and then write negative reviews.

Often these people do not understand the convention of, for example, thrillers in which characters are purposely misleading.  Then these people may write negative reviews that they couldn’t understand who the characters were.  (That was, in fact, what I was aiming for until the end, when all was revealed.)  This is why it may be better to share the permalinks to individual reviews rather than to the page with all of a book’s Amazon reviews.

2.  You can share your author website URL or a specific page of that site. 

For example, I could share PhyllisZimblerMiller.com or PhyllisZimblerMiller.com/phyllis-fiction-books-ebooks/ or Phylliszimblermiller.com/cia-fall-guy depending on where I want someone to go. 

This link to a page on your website may be where you share your bio, or you may decide to link to the bio you have put on your Amazon Author Central profile.  If, for example, you have divided your fiction and nonfiction books into two separate Amazon Author Central profiles (as I have), you can provide the appropriate link for the specific pitch or you can provide both links.  (See Amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and Amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller)

3.  Photos are great for publicity purposes. 

Besides a headshot, Joan Stewart recommends environment shots. For example, if your book is about toy train collecting, you might have a photo of you with some of your train collection. 

Here’s a photo from adoption expert Mardie Caldwell’s online press kit:

Adoption expert and author Mardie Caldwell holding an adopted baby

You can share the links to these photos, or share the link to the appropriate board or pin on your Pinterest account.  For a board example, see My Books on Amazon.  And here’s a pin example.

4.  Blog post permalinks — whether on your own blog or someone else’s blog.

You  can choose the links based on what you are pitching.  For example, if I wanted to demonstrate my interest in effective websites, I could share the shortened direct link — http://budurl.com/websitetarget – to my Examiner.com post.

Actually, the sky’s the limit for links you can share.  Use your creativity to decide which links are best for which pitch.

But don’t overdo the links you share in one pitch because too many can be overwhelming.  Many times less is more, so choose carefully.  You can always send additional links if asked for more information.

Now, It’s Your Turn

What about your own author press kit? What do you include?

How do you get around the problem of outdated print materials? 

Do you have a New Age press kit you’re proud of? Or elements of one at your website? Tell us in the Comment section, and feel free to link. 

*     *      * 

Phyllis Zimbler Miller2Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of the digital marketing company Miller Mosaic, LLC and the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks that can be found on Amazon. She is also experimenting with writing an entire dystopian thriller THE MOTHER OF SIEGE on Wattpad — click the dropdown table of contents to read the ongoing novel — and the Cold War memoir project TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY on Wattpad. Contact Phyllis at pzmiller@millermosaicllc.com.

How to get a corporate sponsor, even in a rotten economy

Brendon-Burchard-corporate-spokesmanWhat author, speaker or expert wouldn’t love to be sponsored by a big-name corporation?

The company promotes you to spread a message about a topic you’re already passionate about in return for mentioning the company onstage, or at a book signing, at your blog, and in videos. They even pay for your airfare, hotel and other travel expenses.

But companies don’t have money to throw around, especially now in this bad economy, right? 

Wrong.

Companies and nonprofits that are cutting back on expensive advertising campaigns are turning, instead, to a much cheaper way of promoting their own names. They’re teaming up with authors, speakers and experts who are already knowledgeable about topics that tie in perfectly to the goals of the company or nonprofit.

It took Brendon Burchard two years to crack the protective shell of some of these giant organizations and land his own corporate sponsorships. So far, he has been sponsored by Wachovia, Coke, Toyota, Sony, the YMCA, Walmart, Kiwanis, US Bank and Junior Achievement.

He says you can land sponsorships, too, if you know exactly who to contact, when to contact them, what to say and—most importantly—what to already have in place.

Brendon will be sharing his tips during a free teleseminar at 2 and 7 p.m. Eastern  Time on Thursday, Oct. 24, with host Steve Harrison. Register here. 

How a Corporate Sponsorship Can Help You

Big corporate sponsors, he says, offer four key benefits to their much smaller partners:

1. They have a budget to promote you.

Even though they might be cutting back on public relations to trim expenses, it’s still much cheaper to pay you and your expenses than to rely solely on a big, expensive PR firm. In other words, they’re paying to promote you and to provide your PR. 

2. They already how how to serve and sell to the same people who are in your audience.

Because many of them have already done sophisticated testing and marketing studies, they know which marketing tactics work best. They know how to manage an effective email campaign. They know if direct-mail works well and, if so, the type of direct mail pieces that get the most response froom their audience.

3. Because they have giant email lists, they can get you in front of thousands of people who don’t know about you.

Brendon says his many corporate sponsorships resulted in about 30,000 people who were added to his own email list. That’s huge!

4. They have access to staff and volunteers.

When you land a corporate sponsor, they have people in place to help you with all the little details. That’s so much easier than hiring your own employees to help, or outsourcing the work to independent contractors you have to oversee.  

Free Publicoity Tip #31--Get a corporate or nonprofit sponsorIn just 18 months, Brendon’s sponsors and promotional partners agreed to buy 50,000 copies of his self-published book, allowed him get over $500,000 in advances for his second book, paid him high fees for 65 speaking engagements, and helped him reach more than 2 million people a month while raising $250,000+ for charity.   

He’ll explain how he did it on Thursday’s free call. 

Full Disclosure: I’m one of Steve Harrison’s affiliates, and if you buy something from him down the road, I’ll get a commission.   

The huge advantage of TV publicity vs. print and how to get on TV–free training today

News reporter interviewing someone who knew how to get on TV and free publicity within hours after news broke

 
If you want to get into a big national magazine, you’d better be pitching your idea six months ahead of the publication date.

That’s the long lead time for many magazines.

But if you wake up tomorrow at 7 a.m. and discover a major story has broken overnight, and you’re the perfect expert to comment on it, you might be able to get onto your local TV news within hours. 

Slow News Days are Deadly

That’s because at most TV stations, producers meet between 8 and 9 a.m. to map out that day’s news coverage.  They love to go into the morning meeting with ideas in hand, instead of scrounging around on a slow news day hunting for an idea that won’t make viewers reach for the remote and change the channel. If you call the station between 7 and 8 a.m., you can pitch your idea, even if you don’t have the name of the correct person to contact.

That’s one of the big advantages of TV publicity vs. print. Even your local newspaper might need one or two days notice before a reporter can interview you. But not TV.

A TV news crew interviewed one of Steve Harrison’s clients after only three hours notice, even though the client had no idea who to contact.

Free Publicity Tips for Authors, Speakers, Experts

Steve has worked with thousands of authors, speakers and experts and he’ll explain more about that fast-track publicity tip, and many others, during a free teleseminar at 2 and 7 p.m. Eastern Time today. Register here  for “Fast-Track Strategies for Becoming a Well-Known, Well-Paid Author, Speaker or Expert in Your Field.”

You’ll also learn what the author of Skinny Bitch, did to launch her book. The book ended up on the New York Times Best Seller List.

If you’re reding this AFTER the teleseminars have ended, register anyway so you’re notified in case this event occurs again. Even though the call is free, I’m promoting it as one of Steve’s affiliates. Many authors, speakers and experts don’t know how easy it can be to get onto TV if their topic ties in beautifully with a breaking news event, or it’s a slow news day. 

6 easy ways to find book reviewers, editors on LinkedIn

open book to illustrate how to find book reviewers on LinkedIn

One of the biggest changes in the world of promotion is the ease with which you can contact journalists, bloggers or writers on social media sites and see a quick response. Many of these same people would let an email pitch languish in their Inboxes forever, unanswered.

That’s why LinkedIn is a fast, easy place to look for book reviewers. Instead of targeting only the major reviewers for big-city newspapers, magazines and high-traffic websites, pursue book reviewers who authors aren’t pitching as often. Many of them have audiences in very narrow niches. 

The world’s largest business networking site has a variety of free tools that can help you find reviewers FAST, even in the narrowest genres. Here are six ways to do that:

1. Do an Advanced Group Search for book reviewers.

Yes, you can search Groups, but I prefer Advanced Search because you can narrow the list considerably.

Log into your account, click on “Advanced” next to the magnifying glass, then click on Groups on the far left, and type “book reviewers” into the search box. I found 22! 

 

How to find Groups of book reviewers on LinkedIn by searching Groups

 

Some of them also include publishing executives such as editors. Be very careful how you use this.

Don’t pitch inside these groups! The reason you’re joining these Groups is so that you can send an email directly to a reviewer or editor via LinkedIn even if they are not connected to you. Some Groups might be open only to book reviewers.


2. Ask about book reviewers within your own Linkedin Groups.

Does anyone within your special-interest groups  know of reviewers at a specific publication? What about top reviewers on Amazon who review books on a certain topic? Or ANY reviewers on Amazon who cover books on specific topics?

 

3. Use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find book reviewers.

Many authors don’t understand the value of this tool—one of the most powerful on LinkedIn!

Log into your account and click on “Advanced” next to the magnifying glass. Then click on People on the left.

Let’s say I’m looking for people who review romance novels. In the Keywords box, I type the word “romance.” In the title box, I type “book reviewer” and in the drop-down box below that I tell LinkedIn I want only “Current” reviewers. 

 

LinkedIn Advanced Search for book reviewers who review romance novels 

4. Ask for an introduction.

If you find a reviewer you want to contact but aren’t connected, scroll down and look on the right side to see if you and the reviewer have a first-degree connection in common. If so, you can ask your mutual first-degree connection to introduce you.

How to ask a first-degree connection on LinkedIn to introduce you to a book reviewer

 

5. Find out what other Groups your favorite reviewers are in, and join them.

As you investigate each reviewer, scroll down on their profiles and look for the little icons that tell you which Groups they are in. Then join the ones that are a good fit. 

 

6.  Send a direct message to a book reviewer who is a first-degree connection, or use LinkedIn’s Inmail if you are not.

Author nataly Kellywho used LinkedIn Inmail to find a book reviewerI wrote about how an author used LinkedIn’s Inmail, not an agent, to land a book deal. Nataly Kelly stopped working with an agent who brought her no results and, instead, sent an email via LinkedIn to one of her first-degree connections who was a book editor. The result? A book deal from Penguin. 

Be careful with this one. Your pitch must be short and on target and immediately catch the book editor’s attention.

Here’s her pitch:

Nataly Kelly's pitch to a book editor on LinkedIn that resulted in a book contract

 

If you aren’t connected, however, you can pay LinkedIn to send an email.  Inmail is a paid feature and costs $49.95 a month or $39.95 a month for an annual subscription. Learn how to use Inmail.

Those are my tips. What tips can you share about how you have either found a book reviewer on LinkedIn or built the relationship? If you got a review as a result, please share the link.
 
Book Review sites 500 x 62

Use Google Alerts to form relationships with journalists and get valuable free publicity

Mark Amtower, who uses Google Alerts to form relationships with journalistsYou probably already know how to use Google Alerts to discover stories that have been written about you or your topic.

But do you know how to take the next important step that will practically force journalists to pay attention to you?

It’s fairly easy. And Mark Amtower does it regularly.

Let Google Do the Heavy Lifting

He has created Google Alerts for his area of expertise, which is how small business owners can sell more to the government.

Google Alerts sends related articles into his Inbox almost daily. When Mark reads a story he likes, he sends the reporter who wrote it a short email saying he enjoyed the article.

Trust me. When journalists see emails like that, they pay attention! I sure did when I worked as a reporter because most of the people who contacted wanted me wanted something.

Within the email, Mark mentions his website, GovernmentMarketingBestPractices.com, to reinforce his expertise and credibility.

If the journalist replies and thanks him for his comments, Mark offers to send a free copy of his book and….here’s the important part…offers to be a resource for other stories on the same topic.

Free Publicity Training Today

That simple technique has helped Mark get a ton of publicity in his niche, because he systematically creates relationships with many reporters who now view him as helpful and reliable.

My friend, Steve Harrison, who has coached Mark and thousands of other authors, speakers and experts, passes along this tip.

I think it’s great one. And that’s why you should join Steve today for a teleseminar on “How To Get A Whole Lot More Media Publicity And Exposure And Make A Name For Yourself As An Expert In Your Field” at either 2 or 7 p.m.

You will learn:

  • How to understand a journalist’s mindset and how it differs by type of media outlet.
  • 5 proven ways to create a compelling publicity “hook” or angle.
  • What a “Good Morning America” producer says is the absolute best way to pitch his show–something very few publicity-seekers do. But it dramatically increases your chances of getting booked.

And lots more.

Register here. 

This is not my program. It is Steve’s. He rarely offers the chance to listen afterward if you miss it, so try to attend this one live because when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Even though it’s free, I’m one of Steve’s affiliates and earn a percentage of anything you buy from him down the road. But you won’t need a credit card to get the tips he’s sharing later today.

Children’s authors: How to sell hundreds of books by visiting schools

Kevin Gerard, fantasy adventure author who does book marketing by talking to school studentsThis guest post was written by Kevin Gerard, a fantasy adventure author whose books for young adults include the series Conor and the Crossworlds series and Diego’s Dragon.  Follow him on Twitter.  

*     *     *      

By Kevin Gerard

If you write children’s novels, school visits are an enjoyable and profitable way to promote your books.

With a little finesse and a lot of persistence, you can develop rewarding friendships with school librarians close to where you live—and if you dream like I do—all across America. If you prepare for and execute your school visits correctly, you’ll increase your fan base and make some good money while having the time of your life.

I write fantasy adventure novels for middle grade and young adult readers. Over the last eight years, I’ve travelled the country doing author talks at countless elementary and middle schools. I’ve spoken to every type of group you can imagine, from a dozen students in a single classroom to over 700 kids, all gathered in a huge auditorium.

The number of students and how many talks you’ll perform fluctuates with each school. I personally prefer a group of about 200, but I’m always prepared to do whatever the librarian requests. I’ve done one to as many as six talks in a row, but always with a preset time during the day to sell signed copies of my books.

I engage in a host of other marketing efforts, but I’ve found that author talks can generate significant sales if you work closely with the school librarian to prepare students for your arrival. Watch this video of Kevin speaking to students, and note the huge audiences!

Create a “Librarian Kit”

I’ve assembled a “Librarian Kit” over the years, which I send weeks before the date of my visit. It contains electronic files, including Jpegs of book covers, interior illustrations from the books, a customized price list students can take home to their parents, and various i-Movies or PowerPoint presentations about the books.

I also snail-mail a complete set of 12×18 inch book cover posters to the school. I get them at Costco—$3 apiece— and they look incredible.

Librarians can upload the book covers into their library computers, so the students see them every time they log in and work. They print copies of the interior illustrations and have coloring contests, which any student can enter. I work alongside them to judge the entries and award books, posters, or T-shirts to the winners.

The iMovies and PowerPoints are sensory wonders, brimming with illustrations, music, sound effects, and text, narrated by yours truly. By the time the students are exposed to everything, they can’t wait to show their parents the price list and ask if they can buy a signed copy when the author visits their school.

If you’re lucky and you find a librarian who’s passionate about her job and loves the kids she works with, she’ll go all out to help you sell books. I usually find a table set up and decorated especially for signing. I’ll bring 20 copies of every book and close to 50 copies of the first book in each series. In some cases, the librarian has taken pre-orders, so I know exactly how many books to bring.

Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching

Cover of Conor and the Crossworlds by Kevin Gerard, author who visits schools for of book marketing  You’d be amazed at how many students bring cash or checks from their parents, sometimes to buy an entire series. I don’t allow credit transactions. I think that might be asking a lot from a parent, and I’ve never had one check returned in eight years.

Well, now that you’ve done all this good work and the big day is near, prepare yourself as best you can, and remember…

Be ready for anything. You have to adapt to any possible situation.

As I said, I’ve visited hundreds of schools, and I can think of three that are always prepared for my arrival. Everything is ready, all I have to do is show up, plug in, and go.

At the other extreme, I’ve arrived at schools where the multipurpose room is locked, the guy with the key is nowhere to be found, and the students are already lining up outside the door for the presentation.

Your projector breaks, your laptop won’t sync with the school’s A/V setup, your PowerPoint file gets corrupted, there’s too much light in the room, you find out you have 17 minutes to do your perfect 50-minute presentation.

Expect it all to happen and you’ll be fine, and don’t ever show anxiety. Remember, you’re a duck, serene on the surface and paddling like hell underneath.

Use This Handy Checklist

  1. Run through your presentation the night before, using your own A/V equipment. Better to find a glitch before you get to the school, and you’ll have a fallback in case their equipment doesn’t work.
  2. Find the school the day before your scheduled visit. There’s nothing worse than getting lost in a strange city with only five minutes to go before you’re supposed to begin your talk.
  3. Arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time. If it’s your first school visit, make it 60 minutes. Give yourself plenty of time to get set up, run through everything, and relax. You want to be at your best when the flag goes up.
  4. If you think you’re early, go to the school anyway. I learned that one the hard way—only once. I thought I had 40 minutes to spare, and when I arrived, I was 30 minutes late. Better to be early.
  5. Kids are kids. They’re going to love you, but they’re still going to fidget, talk, joke, try to look cool, and do everything else kids do. I just stop talking and stand still when they start to get a little rowdy. They get the message.
  6. Be exceptionally nice to everyone you meet at the school. I mean syrupy sweet. You are representing yourself as an author of the best new fantasy novels around, and whether or not you get invited back will largely depend on the overall impression you make. From the receptionist to the principal, pour it on. They’ll love you!
  7. Send a personally written thank you card to the librarian who worked with you to arrange the visit. If they handled sales for you and you sold a lot of books, include a $10 Starbucks gift card. Trust me, even with just a thank you note, you’ll shine brighter than the sun.

There are other things I’m forgetting, I’m sure, but these are a good start. Remember that school librarians are the most overworked and underpaid professionals around. When you call them hoping to schedule a visit, bend whatever way they want. If they say they can’t talk, thank them very much and tell them you’ll call another time.

Good luck. Be persistent. Presenting to kids is the second best part of being a fantasy adventure author.

Dog Tweets–Press release, news release or media release? Which is right?

Here aretwitter bird my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

Press release, news release or media release? Which is right?
All three phrases mean the same thing and which one you choose isn’t a big deal. The content of the release is far more important than what you call the container.

5 ways CEOs can be interesting on Twitter.
Jessica Hagy, author of “How To Be Interesting: An Instruction Manual,” provided some advice and simple but powerful illustrations to help executives be more interesting on Twitter. Bonus: there’s some funny, lovable advice for the rest of us.

4 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Amazon Listing.
These 4 opportunities to optimize your Amazon listings are free, fast, easy to set up, and don’t require much effort on your part after the initial registration.

How to create a LinkedIn Company Page with the New Interface
LinkedIn keeps changing its UI (user interface) claiming that it makes the experience better for its members. I find it to be the opposite. Please read this post where LinkedIn and Costco are compared.

4 Ground Rules for Sharing Social Metrics With Your CEO.
You may have no doubt about social media’s value, and convincing senior managers of the negative value of not investing in social communications is one way to go. The other is to present metrics that they can grasp at a glance.

10 simple ways to get more followers for your LinkedIn Company Page.
Learn how to create a LinkedIn company page that will get maximum attention AND attract “followers”.

Guess which color in photos makes people pin them most frequently on Pinterest?
Visual analytics and marketing platform Curalate studied 500,000 images on Pinterest to discover what drives the most likes and repins. The results might astonish you.

How to Create & Share a YouTube Playlist in 7 Easy Steps.
Playlists can also be shared. If you want to share a playlist of 15 videos to your friends, it’s as simple as sending a link.

5 ways to increase your newsletter list.
Newsletters never go out of style. With everything that is available in social and new media, newsletters are still a primary source of customer contact.

6 ways to promote your book on Twitter.
Twitter has become part of our mainstream communication. Use it to connect and build an audience of book buyers and followers.