Thursday, January 29, 2009

Author website content and timing

I received an interesting question via email the other day from an author regarding her book and website. She asked if 1.) it was as important for her to have a website for her historical fiction book as it would be for an author with a non-fiction book and 2.) should she wait until her book is released to create her website. The short answers to each question are YES and NO. In more detail,

1.) YES. A website is just as important for a fiction book as it is for a non-fiction title. As I was replying to her email, I realized there isn’t much (or any) difference between websites for different types of books. The components that I always tell an author his or her website should have are:

- a description of the book
- sample material from the book, such as excerpts, photos, extra information, etc.
- praise and endorsements for the book
- an author interview
- a list of author upcoming events and appearances
- info on where someone can purchase the book
- a blog and/or forum where the author frequently posts new information, making a reason for viewers to continue coming back for fresh content

2.) NO. All authors should have websites up and running before their books are released. For our Spring titles released in May, some of the authors have their websites done and others are completing them now. That way you have a place to point people who you know or who are interested in your book. Send your book website’s link out to people in blogs and forums pertaining to your subject matter and start getting hits to your website to build interest before your book’s release. Another great way to capture email addresses and potential readers is to have an online sign up form on your website. “Click here to be notified when this book is released!”

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another New Amazon Feature – helpful?

Amazon has a lot of great features for publishers and authors to use such as Amazon Marketplace, Amazon Connect, Tags, and Listmania.

We came across a new one recently, Author Stores. It is a new way to search for books by featuring all the books by a particular author on one page. There is also some additional content on many of the pages such as an author photo, biography, and links to that author’s favorite books.

There is a directory of all the authors who currently have pages here. Here’s the J. K. Rowling page as an example. Authors can create their own pages too. Directions are posted here.

It will be interesting to see if the Author Store pages take off. It’s nice to have all the info on one page. When you search for a book by an author’s name on Amazon the regular way (in the search bar), you are bound to get a lot of unrelated material written by authors with similar names. However, I don’t like how some of the content on the Author Store pages opens in a new pop up window, darkening out the page you were looking at behind it. Try it out and see.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Savas Beatie in the National Enquirer?!

I can’t believe I forgot to post this last week but . . . we made the National Enquirer! Who would have ever thought!? There is a nice full page spread on Nick Popaditch and his book Once a Marine, with the catchy headline SEMPER EYE. I’ve copied the text below. It’s a great article and depicts Nick perfectly.

This week we have been using it as a promotional piece, emailing it to bookstore managers at stores where Nick Popaditch has had book signing events, to people we have set up speaking engagements with at service clubs and military posts, and to radio station hosts and producers.

It’s a great way for us to check in with each person with a quick update on Nick and his book. We will remind the bookstores to order more copies of Once a Marine if they are out of stock, see if the clubs have suggestions of other venues where Nick can speak, and remind the radio hosts that Nick is always available for another interview.


National Enquirer – January 19, 2009

Semper Eye!

It’s plain to see that this former Marine is devoted to the Corps.

Retired Marine Sgt. Nick Popaditch sports an eye-catching reminder of his devotion to the Corps.

On his prosthetic eye – the result of a war wound in Iraq – he has emblazoned the Marine Corps’ eagle-globe-and-anchor logo.

As spares, the former tank commander has two other eyes – one with the gun sights of a tank gunner and one with the logo of the 1st Tank Battalion.

“The Marines made me the man I am,” Nick told The ENQUIRER. “I’ll always be grateful to the Corps, and this is one way I choose to show it.”

The heroic 41-year-old veteran has spent most of his life as a Marine, including war service in Iraq – ending when he was hit in the head by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Earlier, his picture flashed around the world when a photographer snapped him grinning hugely and smoking a cigar atop his tank as the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in the center of Baghdad.

“It wasn’t even my cigar. I was just taking a few puffs. The next thing I knew, my picture was everywhere,” Nick told The ENQUIRER.

The brave patriot has written a thrilling memoir, “Once a Marine,” which details his amazing battlefield exploits.

A year after the fall of the evil dictator, Nick was nearly killed by the grenade that hit his helmet. The blast destroyed his right eye and left him with only eight percent vision in his left one. He also ended up deaf in one ear and without a sense of smell.

Does he pity himself?

“Hey, I’m a lucky man,” he says. “I’m happy to be alive.”

Now out of the Marines and living in San Diego with his wife April and 15-year-old son Nicholas Jr., Nick is once again setting an outstanding example.

Although he is legally blind, he enrolled at San Diego State University to become a high school history or social studies teacher. The decorated veteran reads with magnifying devices – and makes almost perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

“I’ve been a drill instructor, and I’ve been in combat,” he says, laughing. “I figure I can teach high school!”

by James McCandlish

Friday, January 9, 2009

Planning 2009 Civil War Events

In this month’s issue of Civil War News, we received the Calendar of 2009 Events. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this publication, it is a wonderful newspaper for, as they say, “People with an active interest in the Civil War today.” In their January issue, they always include a fantastic calendar of events. It’s 28 pages this year and includes dates, times, locations, and contact info galore for reenactments, lectures, conferences, etc. We will be using this as a resource when planning our author book signing events for the year. If you are a Civil War author, make sure to get your hands on this special pull-out section. See what events are in your area that you can attend. See about setting up a book signing with a Civil War bookseller attending the event, or offer your services as a speaker to event organizers. Happy booking!