A Q&A with Danny Iny, creator of Course Builder’s Laboratory

If you’re on the fence about whether to register for Danny Iny’s Course Builder’s Laboratory—a triple-tested system that will make big money from your new ebook, service or online course—reserve about a half hour to listen to a Q&A interview I did with him yesterday. 

The cart closes at midnight tonight on this course. I’m buying into it because I have a few ideas on things I want to teach this year, but my product launches haven’t been nearly as successful as Danny’s have been. Yours probably haven’t been either. 

If you register here, you’ll be learning right along with me. Even though I uploaded this interview to YouTube, it’s audio only. So don’t click on the arrow expecting to see Danny talking. Just listen.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. 

Full Disclosure: I am Danny’s affiliate and I earn a commission if you buy. I stand behind him 100 percent. As I said, I trust him enough that I’m buying into this course. I hope you do, too.



Before Titling Your Book, Clear Your Head of 4 Misconceptions about Book Titles

Woman reading a book surrounded by stacks of books

By Marcia Yudkin

Whether someone is browsing for something to read online or in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, they usually notice three things about a book: the cover design, the title and the description of the book.

Clearly all three are vital marketing tools.

When it comes to the book title, I have run across a whole lot of wrong-headed and harmful advice. Some of it is nonsense imported from other areas of marketing, and much of it makes universal recommendations with only one type of book in mind. If you’re trying to come up with an effective title for a book, start by clearing your head of these four common misconceptions.

1. A book title should help sell as many books as possible.

No, not exactly.

Given the importance of social media and online reviews today, you want to sell as many books as possible to the right readers for your book. A title that oversells or misleads people about what’s in the book leads to complaints and negativity that can hurt your success.

Start your brainstorming for a title with a clear idea of your intended readers, and finish your title selection by checking to make sure you’re giving the right impression to those who will most appreciate what you’ve written.

2. A book title consists of only a title.

First-time authors often forget—or didn’t know to begin with—that a title can have three components:

  • First is the main title, what gets biggest billing in design and selling.
  • Second is the subtitle, which usually shows up in smaller letters on the cover and after a colon when the book is written out in text.
  • Third is a series title, where the book is part of a branded grouping, like “411 Traveler’s Guides” for your travel reference books. Not every book is part of a series, so the third component is optional.

However, most books should have a subtitle as well as a title, taking advantage of an opportunity to zero in on the focus, purpose or intended readers for the work. Even for fiction, the subtitle “A Novel” after the main title usefully clarifies what kind of a book it is.

3. A title should offer a unique selling proposition.

Many marketing gurus advise racking your brains to define something that is true about your product and not true about competing products. This often helps, but it’s not necessary.

If I look for a beginner’s book on backyard grilling and find three candidates, I don’t care in the slightest whether these three are unique or meaningfully distinct from one another. I’ll simply choose one (or buy all three).


backyard BBQ 1-2-3 version 2


With fiction, the notion of a unique selling proposition is even less applicable. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, for instance, doesn’t promise anything unique in its title. It’s always better if a title is unique, but that too isn’t necessary. There are at least four novels titled Suspicion, including one out just this year by Joseph Finder, and no one considers this a form of marketing malpractice.

4. A nonfiction book should include the book’s benefits in the subtitle.

Sometimes we see this in nonfiction books, as in Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food. However, it’s equally effective and much more common to use the subtitle to explain the book’s topic more fully, as in Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, a classic business book, or Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a bestselling adventure memoir.

An effective book title helps draw attention to your book, motivate people to open it, investigate further and buy it. It also helps keep inappropriate readers from thinking yours is the book they’re looking for. Make sure your title contains enough signals for the right people to become interested and have an idea of what your book offers.


Where to Learn More

Brainstorming a better book titleThrough Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, receive $10 off Marcia’s online course (normally $37) on better book titles by using this link.

The task that makes authors feel dishonest, deceitful and downright dirty

A woman asking "You want me to do WHAT with my new book?"Why can authors muster so much passion for topics they want to write about, but gag when they discover that they—and they alone—must be the Marketer-in-Chief for their own books?

“I don’t want to create an email list of readers because I don’t want to be constantly bothering them,” an author told me.

“I don’t want to do public speaking because I don’t like to be around a lot of people,” another one said.

“If I write a good book, it will sell itself,  said a naive writer.

When I was a guest on “The Successful Author Podcast” recently, hosted by Julie Anne Eason, we discussed do-it-yourself publicity for authors, and why so many authors are not only reluctant to market their books, but view the task with disdain.

I’ve heard many say high-pressure sales tactics make them feel sleazy. The problem, I suspect, is that they see so many other authors hawking their books ’round the clock on social media without offering relevant content from the book or topics that tie into it. 

We spent the majority of the program discussing how nonfiction and fiction authors can gain expertise in their topics and promote it instead of pitching their books.

What Makes an Author an Expert

Expertise is not only about what you know, I explained. It’s about what you do.

Author experts do things like teach classes, have coaching programs, publish blogs and newsletters, moderate LinkedIn groups, have copyrights and trademarks, and spin off products from their books. All of those activities tie into book marketing. 

The recording is being transcribed right now by someone I found at Fiverr.com,  the worldwide marketplace I recommended last week as a helpful place to buy and sell services. I’ll slice and dice the entire transcript and feature it here. But I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the interview. Get ready to take lots of notes.

You can listen to it on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio.  

Or listen t0 the 32 minutes of solid content below.  If you have questions, ask them in the Comments and I’ll answer them.  


Dog Tweets–Google Plus Success Strategies for Business

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

Google Plus Success Strategies for Business
Your will business benefit from building a stronger social media presence with Google Plus, and there is the added benefit of appearing in search results, which currently is very hard to do with other social networks.

40+ Social Tools for Personal Branding Success
Tools for personal branding will help you amplify and grow your personal brand and there is no easy button or one tool fits all so find tools in each of these categories that fit into your workflow and they’ll soon become your favorite tool.

Does Your Blog Pass the Blink Test? 3 Critical Blog “Must Haves.”
Design for branding, trust, and personality – everything on your blog should reflect your branding theme, personality, and the problems you solve for your readers.

10 things young PR pros must stop doing
Here’s a list of 10 things young PR pros must stop doing in order to get ahead.

Uber’s Releases First Driver Report (PR Still in the Trunk)
It’s no secret that while Uber has helped many people navigate America, the ride-sharing app hasn’t done itself any favors in terms of public perception.

Why and how to promote your brand on Instagram
A study by Simply Measured offers data points and insights to help you make the most of the visual-centric social media site.

7 Secrets To Podcasting Success
Podcasting is a great medium for authors to expand their platform and reach. Follow these 7 tips and you will be well on your way to podcasting success!

500 Top-Tier Publishers Tell You What They Want from Content Marketers [Good News, Bad News]
BuzzStream and Fractl collaborated to survey more than 500 publishers to find out how to break through the noise and improve your content promotion.

PR Is America’s ‘Best Creative Job’
In a finding that may surprise some in media and advertising, the annual career report from U.S. News has named “public relations specialist” as the best creative job in America.

1 Easy Trick to Increase Reach on Facebook Page Posts
How’d you like one easy way to increase Facebook reach? It involves sharing some of your page posts on your personal profile, but you need to do it in the right order!

Restaurants, chefs, foodies: Tie publicity into these food trends

Chart of What's Hot (and not) in food in 2015 “I’ve opened a restaurant and I need publicity. What do I do?”

“Our adult education department is starting a series of cooking classes. But the local newspaper isn’t interested in writing about them. How can I get the word out?”

“My supermarket will soon offer free delivery. Should I write a press release or do I have to buy an ad?”

In all three cases, generating publicity is a lot easier if you can tie into a food trend.

Food Genius, a Chicago-based firm, has identified 10 food trends, based largely on the convenience, healthy options and local ingredients that consumers are demanding. They include fast-food restaurants that are going mobile, more grocery stores offering dine-in options, and meal-delivery service for busy workers who eat at their desks.

You can see more hot trends in the infrographic from the National Restaurant Association and see their Top 20 Food Trends for 2015, including top trends by category.

Ideas for Piggybacking onto Trends 

Let’s take each of the three examples above and piggyback off one or more food trends. 

Example 1:   

“I’ve opened a restaurant and I need publicity. What do I do?”

Are you using mobile technology?

Have you offered free meals to local food bloggers with the promise of telling them about national and local food trends that have helped you decide what to serve and how to prepare it? Do you have an unusual pricing strategy that will benefit customers?

Have you created a signature dish with an emphasis on healthy ingredients?

If you have an outdoor cafe, can people bring their dogs? At Fred’s Mexican Cafe in San Diego, Doggie Date Night every Monday has been a hit. 

Don’t just think food. Think drinks. An article in New York magazine explains how New Yorkers are crazy for sake, sidecars, pomegranate and flower blossoms.  

Example 2:

“Our adult education department has a series of cooking classes. How do I get the local newspaper interested in writing about them? Any chance I’ll get TV coverage?”   

Are you offering recipes on your Facebook page?

Do you have classes for parents and their kids? If so, that could be a good visual for TV.  

What is your most popular class and why? Does that class tie into a food trend? 

Is there an emphasis on local ingredients? Are you partnering with local organic gardeners or a farmer who provides brown eggs and goat cheese? 

Example 3:

“My supermarket just started offering free delivery. Should I write a press release or do I have to buy an ad?”

What does your market research tell you about the need for free delivery?

Are local companies asking for it? Do you have an aging customer base that needs it?

Do you have an unusual mode of transportation, like bicycles, for small orders? Pitch these ideas and you shouldn’t have to buy an ad.


Brad Phillips, aka Mr. Media Training, says, “Don’t talk about the thing. Talk about what behind it.”

What’s behind your thing? Identify it and pitch it. 

27 ways to use Fiverr.com to sell PR services


If you’re selling any type of PR- or publicity-related service—especially if you’re a new player in your niche—consider generating leads on Fiverr.com.

It’s the global online marketplace of vendors offering tasks and services starting at $5 per gig. I send clients to Fiverr.com all the time if they need an inexpensive logo, or editing services, or someone to help them post news items to media websites.

As I was looking around the site just now, I found more than two dozen types of services people are selling that would appeal to Publicity Hounds.

The Benefits of Selling on Fiverr

If you sell these same services and are willing to do some fast projects to bring leads through the door, be sure to check out Fiverr’s best practices tips above. It’s chock full of advice that will help persuade the millions of people who visit Fiverr to do business with YOU.

It will also persuade YOU that Fiverr, if used correctly, can rake in money, particularly if you upsell buyers to other services. For example, if you do voiceovers, you might charge $5 or $10 extra for faster turnaround. Or you can sell the buyer the rights to use your voice in commercial settings for an additional $200. Five bucks is only the starting point.

Here are 27 PR services to consider offering:

  1. Voiceovers for podcasts.
  2. Promote a podcast. See 11 clever ways to promote your podcast to the world.
  3. Write press releases. My free email course on how to write ress releases will help you.
  4. Edit press releases.
  5. Write headlines for articles, press releases and other publicity materials.
  6. Create or tweak a current logo.
  7. Create WordPress blogs.
  8. Research journalists and broadcasters in niche media. See The biggest publicity mistake most people still make
  9. Research bloggers and influencers.
  10. Write descriptions for YouTube videos.
  11. Keyword research.
  12. Tips on how to use social media.
  13. Write articles.
  14. PR advice. If you sell these tips, you’ll get lots of backup help twice a week from me when you subscribe to my free email tips on free publicity.  
  15. Write a person’s bio or author resource box.
  16. Write website copy.
  17. Publicize a crowdfunding campaign. Read bout these crowdfunding success stories.
  18. Promote events by posting to online calendars.
  19. Submit press releases to targeted media outlets.
  20. Proofread copy. I wrote about how to avoid 7 of the most humiliating proofreading mishaps.
  21. Draw a cartoon illustration.
  22. Create maps, pie charts, bar charts and other infographics.
  23. Write a speech.
  24. Create a presentation in PowerPoint or Keynote.
  25. Write and record a song for a business.
  26. Offer tips on SEO.
  27. Create quote graphics for use on sites like Pinterest. See my popular Pinterest board 50 Tips for Free Publicity. Here’s an example of a slide from that board. I just added it this morning, as soon as I completed this blog post:

 Free Publicity Tip 44--Fiverr for publicity services


Don’t Buy or Sell These Services

Here’s a short list of things that are illegal, unethical or just plain stupid. Do not pay anyone to:

  1. Write a good review for one of your products or services and post it online.
  2. Write a bad review for your competitors.
  3. Bring you thousands (or even hundreds) of social media followers.
  4. Offer or exchange lists of email addresses of people who might want to buy what you’re selling.
  5. Click on a competitors’ Google Adsense links.
  6. Pitch journalists if the Fiverr service provider does not have a track record of success. Publicists sell services here, but research them thoroughly. Don’t hire blindly or you can get burned!  

Now that you know what works and what doesn’t, check out Fiverr’s best practice tips above.

Have you had experience with Fiverr either buying or selling? Do you have any tips for other Publicity Hounds who want to get in on the fun?

Other Articles That Will Help You:

The Secret to Making Money on Fiverr

What is Fiverr? Q&A with CEO and Co-founder of Online Freelance Marketplace

9 of the Best Fiverr Gigs to Make Your Blog Awesome (for Just $5)

Dog Tweets–6 Tips for Managing PR Activity Time for Profitability and Efficiency

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

6 Tips for Managing PR Activity Time for Profitability and Efficiency
Small PR agencies, particularly, are given to servicing their clients until the job is done. The operative words, here, are keeping clients happy, and keeping clients, period. Here are a few ways to maintain client goodwill, and save precious time AND your sanity.

The Top 5 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2015
Whether we’re talking photo or video, editorial or blog, content’s kingdom has been expanding: fewer journalists, more user-generated stuff, and a plethora of forums for any brand to find a consumer. Just because the platforms are there does not mean your consumers will know how to find your content.

What PR pros can learn from successful pitches
With today’s journalist shouldering more responsibility than ever before, it’s essential to master the art of pitching stories. Your pitches must immediately grab the attention of the targeted journalist if you want to get noticed and get coverage.

How to work with influencers to promote your product, campaign or startup
Influencer marketing is about connecting your brand or product with individuals who have the influence within that field to reach and engage your end customers.

Authors: ‘Draft to Dream’ competition deadline Jan. 15
Dust off that book manuscript you’ve been massaging since forever. Join the “Draft to Dream” Book Competition. Three authors will win a grand prize package worth $10,000. The package includes cover and interior book design, book distribution, virtual assistance and even an author photo shoot.

Easy Keyword Research Tool
When you’re in a hurry and you need to do some quick keyword research, or you need an idea for a blog post or article, use the Ubersuggest tool.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg follows Oprah by founding book club
The Facebook founder and chief executive announced on his page recently that he has vowed to read a book every other week in 2015, with an emphasis on learning about different beliefs and cultures.

Habits That Help Boost Productivity From Dawn To Dusk
Resolutions, intentions, visualizations, and plans are all great. But it’s habits that really change our lives. You can harness the power of this subconscious tendency to act on habits by making a concerted effort to replace bad habits with healthy ones. So what should you get started with? Any of these can make a difference in your productivity and overall well-being.

2014 Action Item: Did Marketers Master Blogging?
Blogging — and blogging consistently — is critical for businesses, Dorie Clark, CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and a Forbes and Harvard Business Review contributor, told us last year. It was an imperative for 2014, Clark said. So how did businesses and marketers do? We caught up Clark to find out. (Check out yesterday’s “2014 action item” catch-up with Carla Johnson on agile marketing).

Savvy Podcasting Tips for Small Business Owners [Infographic]
Podcasting is such a unique platform and you’ll often hear it referred to as the best way to nurture an “intimate” connection with your audience. It’s so true because many people are consuming podcasts while they’re working out at the gym, or on riding on the train or in a car on their daily commute, or even when doing chores around the house.

Authors: ‘Draft to Dream’ competition deadline Jan. 15

Draft-to-Dream-Book-Publishing-Competition-300x300Dust off that book manuscript you’ve been massaging since forever.

And no more excuses like “I don’t have the money to hire a good cover designer” or “I don’t have a clue how to find a distributor.”

If God gave you the talent to write, you need to share it with the world.

Join the “Draft to Dream” Book Competition.  Three authors will win a grand prize package worth $10,000. The package includes cover and interior book design, book distribution, virtual assistance and even an author photo shoot. 

It’s sponsored by AuthorU.org, a nonprofit devoted to teaching serious authors how to write, publish and sell books. I’m a proud member of the board of this 501c6 and The Publicity Hound is a co-sponsor of this competition.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1:

Read the rules.

Step 2:

Download the entry form. You may enter one book per year in each of the following categories: Children’s, Young Adult, Fiction and Non-fiction. If it isn’t finished yet, don’t submit it. If it’s finished but not edited,  either find an editor quickly or take your chances.

Only the best books will win.

If you’re under 18, your parent or guardian must complete a permission form as part of your entry.

Step 3:

Pay your $119 registration fee by Thursday, Jan. 15.

Your manuscript and your registration form must be received by AuthorU in Denver no later than Jan. 16.

What Happens Next:

All Finalists will be notified by mail or email by April 1, 2015.

The top 6 Finalists in each category will be listed in the May issue of The Author Resource and at the AuthorU website April 20, 2015.

The Winners in each category will be announced on May 8, 2015 at the AuthorU Extravaganza in Denver, Col. (If you’re attending, stop by and say hi. I’m speaking at the event.)

Verification of all Prizes will be sent out on May 13, 2015.

Good luck.

Half-off coupon within ‘Best of’ ebook expires tonight

totw-coversThe half-off coupon good for more than a dozen of my most popular products expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time tonight.

You can find the coupon code sprinkled throughout the free ebook, “The Best of The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week.” It’s a compilation of my best 26 email tips from last year and you can download it from that page or use the handy app we created that will let you read it on your mobile phone or tablet.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll learn from the ebook about attracting attention for yourself:

  • No money to publish a book or launch a product? Learn 9 reasons you should use crowdfunding, a way to get financial help from friends and strangers. 
  • Can’t make money from your blog? Use the same simple tool used by a blogger and freelance writer for prestigious publications like Wired UK, The Atlantic and the New York Times.
  • Too few product sales from your website? I’ve got tips for taking better product photos that will help drive sales. You can use these same photos for your press releases too.
  • Pitching into a big black hole? I’ll tell you the very best ways to pitch top-tier media when they won’t take your phone calls. (No, it isn’t email.)
  • Can’t get a journalist to bite on a story idea? Learn how to make a journalist say “yes” to your pitch by doing what 9 out of 10 other people who are pitching don’t do.
  • Trying for months to encourage a big magazine to feature your product? My free ebook explains the one thing magazine editors say you must have if you want product publicity. They’re begging for this.
  • Can’t follow up your pitches because you don’t want to annoy journalists and bloggers? You’ll learn 5 reasons you should follow up,  despite what they tell you.
  • Finding it difficult to use photos to tell your story? I’ll give you ideas for using “before and after photos” in a publicity campaign, a super idea for nonprofits and small business owners.
  • Do you struggle with writing? I share a free online tool that will analyze your press releases, blog posts, articles and any other type of writing and tell you how to improve them.
  • Frustrated with Facebook but not ready to abandon the world’s most popular social media site? You’ll learn where to find almost three dozen killer Facebook tips, most of which are free.

Go here to find out more about how to access the free ebook and your half-off coupon.

If you’re struggling with a publicity dilemma, drop me a line and I’ll try to help.

My family loved their Christmas gift: A long-lost photo of ‘The Girls’

SistersDo you have a box of family photos that you’ve lugged with you from house to house, and state to state, over the years?

My family does.

Hundreds of photos, some from as far back as the 1920s, have been thrown haphazardly into three cardboard boxes that my sisters and me divided between us and stored in our closets. Every Christmas, when I visit them in Columbus, Ohio, we haul out their boxes, sort through the photos and make fun of each other and how dorky we looked.

We’ve seen all those photos hundreds of times. We remember exactly where we were when they were taken: at family picnics, amusement parks, and at relatives’ houses.

The photo that gets the biggest laugh is the one of our family in front of our tacky silver foil Christmas tree in our home in Maple Heights, Ohio. The tree changed colors thanks to a rotating plastic disc attached to a giant light bulb on the floor.  

We know every photo by heart, or so we thought.

The Missing Photo

This year, we discovered a photo we’d never seen before.

Our cousin, Michael Dreiling, who also lives in Columbus, emailed it to my sister, Lois Heinlen, earlier this year. It shows my two sisters and me sitting on the ugly brown couch in our living room, circa 1960. That’s 8-year-old mini me, in the white plastic headband. Lois, age 5, is next to me. (Girls, your slips are showing.) And baby Elaine, a year old, is on my lap.

It’s the best photo we’ve seen of the three of us together as kids, and we love it because it makes us (all brats) look so sweet.

That picture brings back memories of when we played with our Tiny Tears dolls and watched “The Mickey Mouse Club” on TV. I remember sitting on the floor, right in front of that brown couch, on Sunday morning, Nov. 24, 1963 as I watched Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who assassinated President Kennedy.

Our mom and dad both had big families and we always shared photos with our relatives. How could this one have escaped us? 

The Perfect Frame

I saved the photo in an email folder and didn’t give it much thought until August when I was in the vendor building at the Wisconsin State Fair. Someone was  selling laser-engraved picture frames, and you could custom-order frames that they’d engrave with the names of the people in your photo.

It was the perfect Christmas gift for my two sisters and our little brother, Jon, who affectionately refers to us as “The Girls.”  I wanted one, too, and ordered four. On Christmas morning, I made my sisters open their packages at the same time. They loved their framed photos. I can’t stop looking at mine.

This quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose “Little House” series of books was my favorite, says it best:

Laura Ingalls Wilder quote

Photo courtesy of CafeMom.com on Pinterest.