Friday, October 30, 2009

"Publishing Basics"--October 30th, 2009

What do I do about adding illustrations for my children's book(s)?

For those of you working on your first children's book(s) and have questions about book illustrations, check out the latest article by best-selling children's author, Melissa M. Williams, that covers points of consideration when determining illustrations for your current book project. It's the latest in a new series entitled: You Ask, We Answer, where we work together to answer ALL your indie publishing questions.
"Where Do I Find an Illustrator?"

...supporting the independent arts...

~Bobby Ozuna

Book Marketing Consultant
Co-Founder, READ3Zero
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Marketing 101"--Just What's In A Brand, Part 2/6

In my original introductory article on this new six-part series--Just What's In A Brand?--I listed five points of consideration for the indie author & publisher to focus on and develop as they venture towards creating their brand of marketability, to ultimately, sale more books.

Establishing a Web Presence

In today's fast moving society of high-tech gadgetry it isn't enough for an author to be content with simply "having a book on Amazon" (or any other online retail store). It is not acceptable either for an author to say, "I don't know how to do this stuff" or worse "I can't learn it." Whether you chose to publish independently or had little or no choice to see your work in print, if you plan on making a dent in today's book buying consumer base, then you will have to learn how to establish (at the very least) a web presence that builds on your credibility of your book(s) subject material. If you aren't interested in building a website or quite possibly, can't afford a good web developer/designer, there are many free tools you can utilize. Something after all, is better than nothing at all. Personally, I am a fan of blogs and all their optimization (SEO) functionalities to help you gather customers based on your sites material. Establishing a web presence is easy but maintaining the data and staying current is the hard part, because it requires continual effort. I have listed some points to consider as you design and refine your marketing plan.

Questions you might ask yourself when evaluating your present website and/or blog, including any social networking media you might incorporate.

What does my website signify? What does it say about me as a person or literary professional? Are you utilizing every social networking site for fun, or to help establish your place in relation to your artwork? For instance, many people use Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and a blog. (These are are great places to start building your online/web presence...hint, hint.) BUT, if you skim through these sites of your fellow author and publisher (and of course, your own material), you might find they are spending an ample of amount of time discussing the weather or their favorite sports game and rarely, if ever, discussing their book's subject material. If you have a MySpace, Facebook, etc., you want to incorporate links to your storefront, images of your book cover and of course, summations of every blog post for people to navigate to and read. That leads us to one of the most important aspects of developing your web presence: Becoming the expert!

Becoming the Expert:
A major part of branding and marketing your book publishing business is solidifying your expertise within your book's genre or field. Article writing is by far the best way to get this done. If you have a blog (if you don't go get one now!) or website, you want to start working on a plan to contribute at least (at the very least) two articles per week about your book's subject matter. You can use these articles as a means to discuss or share quotations from your book and also interview other people, share tips & tricks or help develop others. These people you help are potential book buyers! If people trust your information, then they will surely trust your book. The more consistent you are with refining and defining your online presence, the greater chance of exposure and of course, possibilities for selling your business's product: YOUR BOOK!

Branding Tip:
Most of us wrote a book, then worked to develop our credibility for the information. Pretend instead, you were the subject matter expert already who HAPPENED to write a book. If you approach  marketing from this perspective, it will help shed light on new methods for marketing your businesses credibility (you) and your book's material (book) and ultimately, give way for people (followers) to trust you enough to purchase your product (sales).

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Bobby's blog for marketing tips, tactics for writing and developing your story or news of how you can help the fight against childhood illiteracy.

~Bobby Ozuna
Book Marketing Consultant
Co-Founder, READ3Zero Foundation
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.

You can connect with me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or become a fan of READ3Zero on Facebook. You can learn from other authors by listening to archived segments of The Bobby Ozuna Show on Artist First Radio Network. For information on how to help a child get published or help in the fight against childhood illiteracy, check out the READ3Zero homepage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Marketing 101" Indie versus Traditional publishing, what's in it for me?

...In response to a recent Amazon (author/book/publisher) online discussion forum...

In sharing news of Indie vs Traditional publishing on a recent Amazon forum, one member quoted a Publisher's Weekly column released earlier this summer (see article), that revealed some interesting numbers. Independently released titles now outweight those of the traditional publishing companies. My question is this: Should we celebrate this news as independent publishers & authors or fear the fallout as we compete in an overly crowded, competitive market???

I have noticed a pattern when collaborating with other indie publishers/authors online over the previous five years. It seems indie authors, in their efforts to get published hold a professional disgruntled attitude towards the "big" traditional powerhouse giants. For every one manuscript that is rejected, there is a new author trying to find a quick means to publish their content and do it with a vengeance. It seems [that] because one organization denies their request--either on quality or simply lack of marketability within that respective publishing house or timing--there is a vendetta to hurry up and release a title, by any means necessary (sometimes without thorough research and study), only to be on the attack towards those who "did not publish my work!"

I thought I would share a different perspective for those who consider their passions--their heart's blood--as more than simple "joyful passing."

Melissa M. Williams

In Response to the Amazon Discussion Post:
I know many of us may be celebrating the news [that] indie publishers now dominate the market on new releases over traditional institutions, but I want you to consider this very important perspective.

With the release of so many indie titles every year and the ease-of-use for potential "authors" to publish a new title, yes, it does make it harder for traditional publishers to compete with new sales BUT it makes it (now) even harder for indie publishers and authors (like myself and YOU) to market your work when the market is now flooded with so many new titles. So, before you celebrate the news and feel confident that we are making a statement against the big publishing conglomerates, be aware that you are now competing with MORE authors on a wide (online) scale and if you consider selling a few books for less than a dollar "making it" in this business, then perhaps you might try another business? Publishing (selling books) is a business after all, and if you consider your time, your passion and your efforts to create the best work you can, not to mention any investment (in time & dollars), then your business may not be as successful as you hope. To take the opposite approach is simply that of a writer who exposes their passion and gifts to the world, and if so, then there is no need to ever compare what you do as an indie publisher/author to the big corporate giants, because you are not comparing apples to apples. One is trying to make money in the book business and the other perspective is simply trying to share some joyful art.

We are going to have to discover new means and new approaches to selling our products or become one of the many (285,000+) potential products for people to purchase when they are looking for something good to read.

Just a thought to consider...

See my latest article, first in a series, that helps you determine your "brand" and marketability as you move to create a successful, profit generating, business: "Just What's In A Brand?"

~Bobby Ozuna
Book Marketing  Consultant
Online Marketing Manager, LongTale Publishing
Co-Founder, READ3Zero
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Marketing 101: Just what's in a Brand?

Just What's in a Brand? Introduction

By demand and an earnest desire to help the many people who appear lost when it comes to the most effective way to brand or market themselves, I thought I would offer some tips for consideration when working to develop a place for your business, organization or art--outside of the actual product. This is what's called brand-building.

A vast majority of my work involves authorship, but these tips can be applied to any business venture. If you wish to sale a product, then you have to learn to think beyond the product. It's not good enough to say (using books as an example) [that] "I wrote a book and now everyone should buy it." Like any successful business, you have to first consider the consumer. People spend money everyday, on something or many things--some of which are true desires to possess (needs) and others are simply purchases based on a good sale to their desire to own something else (wants).

Here are some things to consider when establishing a brand or marketability within your respective field. I use book publishing or authorship as an example here, but you should truly consider aspects of these examples when working to sell your product, contrary to what that may be.

1.  Develop Your Web Presence--What does your website signify and is it created and written (and re-worked on a continual basis) to help search engines (potential customers) find you? How much time do you spend learning about the best ways to optimize (SEO) your website and online presence?

2.  Marketability--How are you trying to sell your work and have you determined your actual market? Trying to sell book products to people who don't read or (let's say) other authors who are competing against you? Are you working to establish an online presence that is catchy (building on wants) of those who fall into your customer base?

3.  Credibility--Do you write articles, teach classes, offer lectures, that solidify your expertise within your market? Are you available to help others learn how to do what you are (working) to accomplish? To help others with a serving spirit, doesn't hinder your ability to make money, but rather opens more doors for opportunity by helping others along the way.

4. Consistency--How often are you working online to develop a TOM (top of mind) marketing presence. As an example, when people think car company, do they think Chevy or Ford? When they think (for example) of your product line, art, book genre, etc., do they think of you or your works title? What have you done to help establish that want, based on your businesses product. Your product is not only your item for sale, but YOU!

5. Time--If you are writing a book or trying to sale a book to make money only, people can see right through that. And that, makes you no different than the hundreds of thousands of other authors on the market. What makes you (YOUR BUSINESS) different than the next? What do you offer a community, a market, consumers, etc that truly makes your business worth investing in--and ultimately--buying your product? I read once that anything you do for five years [you] become the expert at. All of this work takes TIME, but if you believe in your product, if you believe in your passion, etc., then time is in your favor, not working against you.

These are a few of the various points to consider when working to write your marketing plan, develop a marketing model and lastly, create your web model (links to) your various websites.

...supporting the independent arts...

~Bobby Ozuna
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.
Co-Founder, READ3Zero Foundation

You can connect with me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, join my Facebook group, the Facebook group for READ3Zero, or subscribe to my blog. You can learn from other authors on my archive page for The Bobby Ozuna Show on Artist First Radio Network. For information on how you can help the fight against childhood illiteracy and even help a child get published, check out the READ3Zero homepage.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Opportunities to Publish Stories for Children

I am writing to get some assistance in spreading the word on a new program and opportunities for children to have their stories published. As many of you know I work independently as a book coach and marketing assistant for several authors and companies, but more importantly, I have partnered with Melissa M. Williams (Iggy the Iguana) at LongTale Publishing to co-found a new program designed to help the fight against childhood illiteracy. The program is called: READ3Zero. The mission of READ3Zero is to offer people a means of making an outward stance in committing to reading 30 minutes a day with their child.

To help incorporate the cooperation within communities, READ3Zero will be funding literature to institutions and organizations where children are in need of reading material, based on contributions (purchases) made by businesses WITHIN that respective community. So, if a title-1 school, hospital or daycare were in need of literature for children, a business established within their respective community would help fund the necessary reading materials for kids in "their own backyard."

Also, to help with nourishing the creative spirits in our youth, LongTale Publishing (as part of READ3Zero) is now accepting submissions for short-stories written by kids, for kids in grades 3~8. The anthology will release next year and it will be entitled: "I Write--Short Stories for Kids, by Kids." Not only this, but some lucky child in grades 3~8 will have their artwork selected for the cover design for this first anthology.

What I am asking of you...

Help me spread the word. You can get general information here on the READ3Zero Homepage.

You can re-tweet this article, post information on your blog, post the READ3Zero logo, ask all the questions you wish and if possible, help us (where necessary) ensure we cover all the aspects of helping publish, nourish, encourage and ultimately, serve the youth in their literary and learning endeavors.

If you are using Facebook, show your initial support by joining the READ3Zero Facebook Group!

~Bobby Ozuna
LongTale Publishing, Online Marketing Manager
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.

*Be sure to Subscribe to Bobby's Blog or Follow his updates on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook.*

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Introducing, READ3Zero!

It is with great pleasure, that I introduce the next movement from Ozuna Publications, in conjunction with my friend Melissa M. Williams of LongTale Publishing...


On the homefront...

As many of you know, I am now the online marketing manager for Melissa M. Williams, author of the Iggy the Iguana children's chapter book series and CEO of LongTale Publishing. We have partnered together to create a new program designed to support and conquer illiteracy at home. It is called: READ3Zero. The objective is to help identify and make an outward stance (Tshirts) against or within the fight for literacy. You and your child can commit to reading 30 minutes a day--at home--and wear a TShirt that identifies your family as winners in this fight against childhood illiteracy!

In the community...

READ3Zero will also partner with businesses to help fund literature to title-1 schools, day cares, hospitals, etc. (wherever children are in need) to get books in the hands of our youth. Also, since Melissa and I are creative by nature, we are now accepting short-story submissions for children, grades 3~8, to publish in a short-story anthology as part of READ3Zero entitled: "I Write: Short Stories Written for Kids, by Kids." READ3Zero will publish this anthology to help gain recognition for children with a knack and talent for writing. We are also in the process of compiling submission guidelines for artwork, for the cover of this book. So, if your child isn't one to write, but loves to draw or paint, their artwork may become the cover-art for this first anthology!

If you know a child who is creative and want to help nourish their creative spirit, this is a great opportunity. If you are a business owner, you can purchase books through READ3Zero which will be distributed within your businesses community! The recipients will receive notification [that] your business and staff have helped in the fight against illiteracy!

To learn more about READ3Zero, visit the homepage.

Join the READ3Zero Facebook Group!!!!

Thanks for helping to spread the word!!!

~Bobby Ozuna
LongTale Publishing
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.

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