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December 26th, 2008

12:18 PM

My Favorite Spam


This one arrived in my mailbox without my requesting to be on their mailing list. I don't know why, but it seems some people out there imagine that I have a book waiting to be published. Or, more specifically, I'm a gullible twit ripe for the plucking by scammers masquerading as "literary agents". Without ado, let's all laugh at this unbelievably stupid Patricia "That's Right, I'm A SPAWN!" Fry woman who has the temerity to call herself an expert on book promotions. My thoughts are in italics, by the way.


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Seven Book Promotion Mistakes and How to Fix Them By Patricia Fry

You wrote an amazing book, designed it to perfection and even managed to get it published. But it isn't selling as well as you thought it would. What went wrong? As the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and an international speaker, I meet many authors who are disappointed in their book sales. I think it's fair to say that 100 percent of the time, the fault lies with the author.

Huh? Oh, let me guess, Aunty Patty has the solution for those authors... at a price, of course.

Fortunately, he or she has the power to change the situation. Here are seven common mistakes that authors make and tips for how to repair them:

1: The author writes the wrong book for the wrong audience. Way too many authors write the book they want to write without truly considering their audience. It's no wonder they fail in their attempt to promote the book. They're trying to reach an audience that doesn't want or need the book.

Isn't this deflection? It's not the author's fault that her book can't find an audience. It's the publisher's job to find the audience and market that book to this audience. Most savvy publishers interested in making money won't pick that book up in the first place if they know that the book has limited interest.

Gerald is a case in point. I met this author in St. Louis. He wrote a book featuring scientific proof that there is no God and planned to sell it to a general audience. As it happens, the audience for this book is most likely comprised of people just like him - people with the same belief system. There are two things this author can do: · He can start marketing to the right audience. · Once he sells enough copies of this book, he can go back to the drawing board and create a book that may actually appeal to a larger target audience. In the meantime, he can write and submit articles on his theory to help establish a platform to use when he finally produces the right book for the right audience.

Why the hell is Gerald doing all the marketing and selling? He's the author. I think Gerald should take his book and beat Aunt Patty senseless in the head with it. And then ask for his money back.

2: The author doesn't know that he is responsible for promotion.

Excuse me? The author should help with promotion, but the author shouldn't be the one in charge of promotion. That is the publisher's job. Wait, it gets better. Aunt Patty continues to say:

Obviously, this author didn't take the time and initiative to study the publishing industry or he would have known that his job isn't over once the book is published. Hopefully, the author will turn to informative sites, newsletters, forums and books where he'll quickly learn that authorship requires a commitment beyond the proper dotting of i's and the crossing of t's.

These "informative sites" will let the author know that Aunt Patty is a conwoman who makes her living fleecing gullible people out of their life savings.

It's never too late to promote your book.

True, but please don't give Aunt Patty even a cent of your money. Her lies cause cancer among children.

Start now soliciting book reviews in appropriate magazines and at related Web sites and set up speaking engagements, for example.

Uh... uh... okay.

3: The author neglects to build promotion into his book while he's writing it.

Come again?

Savvy authors think about their target audience while they are writing and designing their books. If yours would make a good reference book, for example, you'll want to include a complete index.

Is this what Aunt Patty considers "promotion"? Oh, I forgot: she's a conwoman whose lies causes cancer among orphans.

For a novel, choose a setting that is conducive to promotion-a town that others want to read about and that would welcome your promotional appearances.

Something tells me that Aunt Patty's career as a fiction writer was a terrible flop. Maybe that's why she's now bitter. And causing cancer to spread among orphans.

You could build promotion into your how-to book by involving a lot of experts and/or organizations. These individuals and organization leaders will promote the book to their contacts.

I'm completely lost. I need a "Cancer-Causing Conwoman Scumbag L33t Speak To Cheat Gullible Pensioners Hoping To Be An Author" dictionary.

For a novel, give a character a popular ailment. If you present it in a positive light, related associations might agree to help with promotion.

Aunt Patty gave me cancer! And AIDS! AIDS is popular, right?

If you didn't think to build promotion into your book as you were writing it, dissect it now in search of possible promotional opportunities that are imbedded within. Does your young adult novel feature a girl with a horse? Perhaps horse and riding magazines, newsletters and Web sites would review it, publish excerpts or welcome your targeted article on an aspect of horsemanship.

That makes sense. I must plan my marketing campaign before I write my book. Aunt Patty causes herpes! (Is herpes really that popular?)

Maybe you could get some press related to your self-help book for women with phobias through health columns in newspapers nationwide, women's magazines or on radio talk shows such as "The Satellite Sisters." Did you interview a high profile individual for your book? Ask her to promote the book to her audience. Request an interview with her for a major magazine.

And see Oprah's people toss aside your pathetic begging letters because come on, any sensible fellow knows that you usually need real clout or an already phenomenally successful self-help book to be featured on shows like Oprah's. It is very unlikely that Oprah will pick up a book one day about how Aunt Patty causes cancer and is moved to feature Aunt Patty's tumors on her show. That can happen, but it's the exception rather than the norm. Stop lying, Aunt Patty.

Do you have some impressive expert testimonials in your book? Play them up in your promotional material.

Whatever you do, remember: Aunt Patty is an expert only in her kuru-ridden brain.

4: The author neglects to establish a platform. Many new authors don't know what a platform is. It's the author's following, his reach, his way of attracting his audience. Most successful authors today have a platform in place before they produce a book.

Oh really? Oh really? I think Aunt Patty pulls this out of her rear end.

My platform for my writing/publishing-related books revolves around my experience in this field: my exposure through previously published and distributed books and articles on these subjects, my affiliation with SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and my active and far-reaching speaking and workshop schedule, for example.

I think what Aunt Patty is saying above is that she really, really, really wants a date with a circus clown who will appreciate the joke she has just written above.

Your platform for your book on phobias might be the fact that you're a psychologist in this area of study, that you suffered a severe phobia for years, that you work with women with phobias or that you've written on this topic for years.

I have a phobia for Aunt Patty's smelly lies.

Even as a novelist, you'll need a following and this can be established through previously published novels, of course, published stories, a popular Web site or the fact that you're a widely-known master storyteller.

How can you be a widely-known storyteller with previously published stories if you're supposed to have a following before you publish your first book? Oh, whatever. Aunt Patty causes cancer!

How can you play catch-up with regard to your platform? Start now getting exposure and establishing credibility in your field. Participate in online forums on your topic, submit articles to appropriate magazines and newsletters, set up speaking engagements, write letters to the editor of pertinent magazines, make news by starting a volunteer organization, for example, and then tell the press about it.

And be known by those people as "the mad person who listened to Aunt Patty and believed that it was a good idea to pester us with unsolicited requests, begging, and proposals".

5: The author has unrealistic expectations.

When it comes to Aunt Patty, there is only one unrealistic expectation: the expectation that she has any actual credibility.

Many first-time authors (we've all been there) expect to sell their books by the truckloads through mega bookstores. They believe that any good book will be eagerly welcomed by bookstore owners and managers. The reality is that few people outside of traditional royalty publishers with track records can get new books into bookstores-no matter how brilliant and beautiful they are. And here's something to consider-do you really want your books in mega bookstores?

What, bookstores? Those stupid places where people buy books? Nah, why would I want my books to be sold in those places? Let me just load my books onto the back of my truck, drive to Aunt Patty's place, and fling those books, one by one, at her head. Hey, it'll be more entertaining and rewarding than, you know, trying to sell those books from the back of my truck myself.

Just look at the competition.

Children, are you actually buying what Aunt Patty is selling you?

Space on bookstore shelves does not guarantee sales.

Of course not, but I bet one's book has a higher chance of being sold from a bookstore than from the back of one's truck.

In fact, books that are not selling will be returned-sometimes within the first six months.

And that should bother the author... why?

If you are determined to have your books available through mega bookstores, there is a way. How? Make a big enough splash with your book that readers are swarming to bookstores asking for it by name.

Silly me, here I am thinking that books get into "mega bookstores" because a REAL PUBLISHER has a marketing department that makes those books available to those bookstores! Aunt Patty causes cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

This might mean appearing on TV and radio with your book, presenting large seminars all over the U.S. related to your book and getting tons of press by creating news and submitting press releases to newspapers everywhere.

News to me. And to the debut author from HarperCollins, Pocket, et cetera, who saw her book in a bookstore without having to go on TV begging everyone to put her book in Borders.

Become high profile and get enough exposure for your book and, even if you are self-published, when enough readers start asking for your book by name, it will be accepted by bookstores everywhere.

Aunt Patty, are you shutting up anytime soon? You're a lowlife conwoman.

6: The author gives promotion just a lick and a promise and then wonders why his book didn't "take off." Authors need to understand that book promotion is ongoing. It should start before you write the book and continue for as long as you want to sell books. Remedy this mistake by establishing a solid promotional plan immediately.

Aunt Patty is a conwoman.

Start by compiling a mailing and emailing list. You'll use these lists to announce your book, publicize any specials you're running, inform folks of new additions to your products or services, let them know about upcoming appearances and so forth. Your list should include everyone you know.

Aunt Patty is a conwoman.

Combine your Rolodex, Christmas card list, address books and club rosters. Add business colleagues, former classmates, your children's teachers, neighbors, your hairdresser, Yoga teacher and then continue to collect business cards everywhere you go. This is just a start.

Er, is this an advice on how to alienate everyone you know?

Once you've notified your massive list about your book, research book promotion ideas and create a plan. You might pursue some or all of the following: build a Web site, launch a newsletter, write articles to promote your book, send press releases to newspapers everywhere, give presentations and solicit book reviews.

Yup, any poor sod who follows this evil woman's advice will have no friends left at the end of the day.

In order to succeed as a published author, you must take promotion seriously. And do yourself a favor-don't stay too cozy inside your comfort zone.

Yes, step out of the box and bash Aunt Patty senseless with your book!

7: The author gives up. I can't tell you how often I hear this from disillusioned authors, "I can't sell my book, so what's the use?" There's one thing for sure; you won't achieve the level of success you desire if you quit.

And you WILL give up if you spend hours and lots and lots of money following Aunt Patty's advice only to learn that you have been swindled by an ugly hag who spreads cancer and AIDS among poor children.

Successful promotion takes time, energy, patience and lots of persistence.

And MONEY. Which is how Aunt Patty manages to buy that pimpmobile of hers to spread Ebola - by getting you to believe her, buy her books, attend her seminars, and beggar yourself in the process while she secretly laughs at you as she gets fat on your money and gives your grandchildren cancer.

Think, for a moment, about an author you admire-someone who is rather high profile. You see her name everywhere. Every time you visit a site related to this author's genre or topic, there's her book, her byline or her quote. This is no accident. This author spends many hours every week making sure her name is constantly in front of you. This is the sort of commitment you must make if you wish to experience a level of success as an author.

Yes, and while you're at it, give Aunt Patty all your money and let her flush your dreams down the drain.

Patricia Fry is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) http://www.scumsuckingspawns.org. She is a full-time freelance writer and the author of 25 books including "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book" (300-pages, $19.95). 

And she is also a conwoman who spreads AIDS, cancer, and herpes with her lies. And she takes your money while she's at it. Don't listen to it. Run her down with your car should you see her crossing the street one day, because you'll be doing the publishing world a big favor by ridding it of lowlife parasiting scumbags and sources of misinformation like this creature over here. 

2 comment(s).

Posted by Stacia Kane (December Quinn):

Spot-on, Mrs. G. Sheesh, people like this woman make me sick. "Give your character a disease so you can get charities involved"? Does she know anything about writing or publishing at all? Oh, right. NO, she does not.
December 26th, 2008 @ 11:37 PM

Posted by anny:

but you get the same idiotic statements from MANY POD presses - that if you don't do all of the above you're a failure as an author, since YOU are what sells your book.
Not the publisher, oh, no... it's all what YOU can do to promote your book.
December 27th, 2008 @ 11:49 PM