Saturday, December 26, 2009

Would You Like Paris Hilton to Promote Your Book?

Here's something I recently came across that I thought was interesting. It so happens that I've been looking for an image I could Photoshop my DFB book jacket onto, but I think the good folks at Photofunia have that covered already.

<-- Check out more in the left column.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can Your Book Trailer Do This?

Okay, I’ll admit the headline is a bit pretentious, but it works. It piques your curiosity, or at least it should. The same goes for book trailers. Many authors think that book trailers all by themselves will sell books, and although that might hold true in some cases (with well-known, established authors that you’ll buy anything from) most of the time a book trailer will serve as part of the marketing mix in your advertising campaign.

Everything that encompasses advertising, to include: websites, marketing, publicity, public relations, posters, brochures, and so on, is only a fraction of the entire sales picture. Selling your product, your non-fiction book in this case, needs specific marketing goals tailored to your book and its audience. The role that book trailers play in this mix is important because imagery and music help sell products like nothing else can, save for a personal visit from a persuasive salesperson.

As I’ve mentioned before (Article: What Makes this Book Trailer So Effective?), the real purpose of any book trailer is to make you curious enough to seek more information about the product. But, it must also reach prospects in an emotional way. It’s what good advertising has always been about, evoking emotional responses, pushing all the right buttons at the right time. Everything has to be just right, nothing out of place, and when that’s accomplished, magic happens.

Here’s a book trailer I put together for Dorothy Thompson, CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book! (gotta love that name). It's designed for Kay Marshall Strom, who is an established speaker/writer specializing in inspirational and motivational speaking and keynote presentations for many different events throughout the country. Her new book: The Second-Half Adventure: Don't Retire-Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World.

The goal here is to introduce Kay as an experienced, dynamic speaker/writer that you can trust and believe in to help turn your dreams into reality. A tall order indeed, but you must sell the author first, her book, second. And with the right imagery and a powerful soundtrack to match, you can put together an effective trailer that will inspire viewers and potential customers to take action.

Once prospects click on a book trailer link, or any button that will lead to a landing page, the book trailer’s job is essentially over. It’s time to push more hot buttons. The kind of hot buttons that will lead to a sale, and that, is the subject of another post.

Enjoy the trailer and if you’re in the market for good books like these, or the least bit curious, take a look at Kay Strom’s website for much more about her, her speaking engagements, and all her books. Meet Kay here:

Kay Strom Book Trailer

For more information about how to Pump Up Your Book!, visit Dorothy Thompson's website for the latest about online book promotion tours:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Book Chase: Google and On Demand Books Partner to Make Hard-to-Find Books Readily Available

Book Chase: Google and On Demand Books Partner to Make Hard-to-Find Books Readily Available

Espresso Book Machines

Hey folks, I just thought I'd post this interesting video about an instant bookmaking machine.

This technology has been around for decades, (color copiers and robotics) but packaged now to fulfill an ever increasing demand for "instant books, hot off the press."

Enjoy the holidays! See you back here soon.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"A Death For Beauty" The Novel Update

Okay folks, a lot going on with the novel. First of all, I tweaked the DFB website and I think it looks better. No major changes, but I've added a few more links. I've even added my own Classics Bookstore from Amazon. I like the way everything looks and the flickering B&W images really work with the theme. If you're using the IE Browser, you'll hear a new musical score that's a better fit than the previous one. Overall, this scheme works so I'll leave it alone for a while.

Okay, good news and bad news. Good news is that after the Book Giveaway on Goodreads, which went up to 569 requests for the book, many people said they were going to buy the book. They were very excited about it and about 35 people added it to their "to read" list, but guess what? Nobody has kept their word and bought a copy of the book. That doesn't surprise me because it takes a lot of momentum to build up a sales pitch and once that momentum is broken, for whatever reason, it's all over, you've lost the chance to make a sale. Besides, most readers on all those bookish websites are very fickle and their main purpose for being there is to socialize, not to buy books. (Wrong frame of mind.)

I'll have to admit that I'm not one to chase down prospects and beg for an order so I'll have to build all that sales momentum up again and this time keep my shame in check and ask for the order. Yes, that does work, but I hate to ask for the order. It sort of obligates people to buy and I think that's a bit pushy. Me pushy? I should go for the jugular but believe it or not, I'm a very sensitive guy. (Oh please.)

"In essence, the best offer that motivates book buyers, is the novel's story itself."

Okay, enough of that. Here's one more thing. Bookbrowse "offered me" an ad spot for $200 a month, (they make it sound so exclusive) but I just can't swing that right now. I think it might not have worked so well either, although I think this website is a dynamic place to advertise, but I haven't been able to try it. When I did have the money, they didn't have the space. They do have good ad placement though and apparently, loyal readers but a one month trial may not be enough, so I'll have to think about that one. In a perfect world, I'd place at least 3 different ads on 3 venues and test them out that way for several months or more and see if that works. But, if I didn't see results within the first month, that's a good indicator that the ads are not going to work.

It takes a lot of experimentation with advertising, but the bottom line is this: If you put together a good ad and place it in a fairly high profile website where readership is not just high but where the website can show you stats on how many buyers order certain books, (Bookbrowse does.) then you might have a good chance to make sales that way. Of course, an ad by itself is usually never enough to make a sale. That's where everything else in your marketing plan comes into play.

You must have a good, effective website in place where prospects can land and then you must have good offers in place to motivate sales as well. I've got all that, but what I don't have are advertising dollars to point prospects to my website to begin with. Not good. Effective advertising in all the right places is a must. (But you know how life is, baby needs new shoes.)

I still have a handful of reviews pending from both Goodreads and LibraryThing but those will take some time in coming. And although, reviews do help sell books, a review by itself is not enough to motivate prospects. I'm convinced that the main factor in determining what produces a sale is the connection that a reader makes with your book, its story. Second in line as a motivator is the author's platform. Their position in the marketplace in relation to the story, their background. (Mine is a bit fuzzy.) And last but not least, a great offer.

You know the offers, two for the price of one, or buy now pay later. Problem is, those offers work for just about any product, except for books because usually the profit margin on books is so low that those kind of offers are not viable.

In essence, the best offer that motivates book buyers is the novel's story itself. That's why it's so important to present your book so it offers intrinsic value to the prospect. You must present your book in such a way that the prospect will think that if they don't order your book, they will be missing out on adding something very important and meaningful to their lives. Just that simple, and that complex.

Again, having all that in place, as I believe I have, is no guarantee of sales. (I'm living proof of that.) You must find an effective way to drive qualified traffic to your website where closing the sale must happen. And that folks, takes plenty of cash that you must invest and possibly lose in the process. But who said selling books was easy? You haven't heard that from me. What you have heard is that good, repeated advertising is the key to consistant sales.

Don't have the money to invest in advertising? Then you can expect to only sell a handful of books if you're lucky. Which reminds me, my mom said she was going to buy a copy of my novel, but she never did. I'll see if I can work up the nerve to bring that up during our next conversation.


Meanwhile, consider breaking open your penny jar and buying as much advertising as you can. Believe me, you're going to need it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Review: High Plains Tango

A Ballad From the Heart (Yes it's a somewhat sentimental review. I was having a tender moment with myself.) What I really like about this story is its soft, lingering pace. The lazy yawn of a tomcat named ”Dumptruck,” for instance, and the sensual dance of a mystic goddess that goes by the name of Susanna Benteen, better known as “the witch” among the locals in Salamander.

For those of you who saw one of my favorite movies, “Bridges of Madison County,” you’ll know what I mean about Waller’s languid, unhurried pace. In “Bridges,” Clint Eastwood evoked that mood with a musical composition of his own, titled “Doe Eyes,” towards the end of the film. And to complement those simple chords, the Bluesy ballads of Johnny Hartman, emanated from the muffled speakers of an old Victrola. That was then, in the movie, but this is Waller’s trademark, laid-back style, which he captures once again in this wistful novel. Another story underscored, if not with sorrow, then with melancholy―something I always fall for.

First, about the title and the Hardcover book jacket since that’s what attracted me to the story to begin with. I tend to judge a book by its cover and title so I had a feeling that whatever was beyond the dancing, ghostly figure on the cover, clad in a yellow dress, would be ever so nostalgic, and it was. That’s always one of those rare pleasures, when the title and cover artwork blends with the story in such an organic way.

Although, I’ll have to admit that it seemed a bit too romanticized for me but I soon got over it. The last chapter is as beautifully written as the first. Both serving as philosophical bookends to the writing in between, which seems to float somewhere amid the casual and unadorned, almost austere in its approach, which suits the storyline deftly. Clearly, we get from the outset that the main character, Carlisle McMillan, is a man of sparseness, a minimalist at heart.

We know we’re in for a slow, wandering excursion into something familiar, yet something difficult to put into words, wondering if Waller can pull this off―the ending that is, because we get the feeling that there’s a little something wrong with the telling along the way. It seemed as though there was no distinction between the narrator and the main character, and that’s too bad but I had already learned more than I should have about Waller’s own backstory, which inadvertently echo’s throughout this book so I always pictured him as the narrator. (That’s what I get for wanting to know more about the author.)

I’ll also admit that I skipped several chapters where a feud about the construction of a highway through sacred ground, took over and broke through the wonderful stillness that Waller, up until then, had so wonderfully managed to evoke. Yes, it’s conflict, but the kind of conflict that goes on for too long and with far too much detail. It seemed off key to my ear--cutting against the grain for this kind of story, to use a metaphor that Carlisle McMillan would appreciate.

The “mandatory” sensual scenes come across as awkward and almost gratuitous, compared to the overall tone and context of the story, but tastefully written nonetheless. Here again, my fault for delving too far into Waller’s background. (I know, I know. My psychiatrist has pointed out that I blame myself way too often.)

I just couldn’t get Waller’s image out of my head--his McMillan-esque ways and looks. It’s one of the reasons why high profile actors refuse to give interviews. It really spoils the mystery between the actor and the character they portray--the ability for the reader in this case to disassociate the main character from the narrator who also sounds like the author.

For me, it’s almost as if Carlisle McMillan and Robert James Waller were the same person. In my own mind, based on what I already knew about Waller, that seemed to ring true, and a little too close for comfort for my taste.

An aside: It’s a lot like when J.D. Salinger came out of hiding after 40 years of self-imposed seclusion. It was as if the mystery behind “The Catcher in The Rye” dissolved right before my very eyes. Especially when the 90-year-old Salinger commented on a scene from a Terminator movie, saying: “Holy crap, was that fucking cool or what?” Something outrageously disconcerting to that effect. Can someone please shoot me now? I’ll never be the same. Thank you.

Okay, as an author myself, not that I’ll ever reach the notoriety of Salinger or Waller, but I’m going to stay in hiding and keep my big mouth shut, just in case I ever do write a classic story―like Harper Lee. I just don’t want to spoil anything for the readers. Lord forbid.

All that nonsense aside, I don’t think this story can match the sadness of “Bridges” either, but we eventually realize that it is not meant to. Waller paints these words with honesty, longing, and a quietness that is both magical and gracefully inaudible at times.

Maybe even as lonely, as a High Plains Tango.


Okay, you get the picture. Scratch the needle across the record. Here’s my favorite line in the book:

“It’s a Tango, you dumb bastard.”

BTW, this book has gotten many mixed reviews and for good reason. I believe that Waller is an excellent writer and that's clear based on the first and last chapter of this novel. But something happened in between, from chapter 2, in fact, that didn't ring true with most of this story. An environmental message and what seemed like a first draft as far as concepts go, permeated the middle of this story.

That's a shame because it almost comes off as a bad story, sandwiched between a great lead-in an a sentimental ending, which is the last impression one gets and the reason I liked it so much. Maybe this proves what they say: that the most important parts of a book are the first ten pages and the last ten pages. If that's the case, this book is the quintessential example of just that.

A contradiction in my review?
I know this comment may seem a contradiction to my review, and it is in hindsight, but the storyline I referred to between bookends, was referencing the pace of the story, not its content.

One more thing!
Amazon, I hope you run my review as is and don't edit the profanity like you've done in the past. I really don't get it. What's the big FUCKING Deal?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


And now, without further ado folks. As promised, my “award-winning” Amazon Ad that will never see the light of day, thanks to the Amazon servers. I don’t think it would have won anyway, maybe because of copyright issues, but it was worth a try just for the fun of it.
Clearly, an ode to my favorite monster of all time. (Sorry, Godzilla)

BTW, I know this might look like a homemade piece of junk, but give me a break, I maxed out all the tools on Windows Movie Maker.

And I know something like this is too bizarre for Amazon, but only a freak like me can pull this one off. Who really cares anyway? Here’s the MF video.

BTW, this is what happens every time I try to logon to Amazon too. Ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Author Q&A on

Okay folks, here's the scoop on my Q&A for Goodreads. The Q&A never took off, (ooohh, big surprise) however, over 500 readers signed up and requested a free copy of my novel. Not bad. I've only got 3 books to give away so I'll have to post it again to give others a chance to win. Best of all, I've made some very good friends along the way.

Q&A's are tough because a lot of people are not brave enough to ask questions for fear of sounding silly or whatever. Sometimes, they're just not comfortable with the author, especially if they look so mean in their Bio photo (like me) but I didn't want to change it. I like looking mean.

Anyway, aside from that, I think Goodreads needs to redefine their Q&A features so that authors get better and more exclusive exposure. The way it's set up now, it's nothing more than a Q&A Group the Author forms, which is too short a notice unless you already have a big following with another Group that will allow you to promote the Q&Q Group. It just doesn't work like it should. And I'm comparing Goodreads with LibraryThing's Author Chats which they promote with a special Author Chat page, including the author's photo and links to the Author Chat with dates for the chat, and so forth. This is far more effective and I'm sure will yield some interesting questions. At least I expect it too. But unless one is a famous author, nobody cares about asking you anything. It's not about the questions, as much as it is about making a connection with a "celebrity". (Yeah, I'm screwed.)

As far as the advertising on Goodreads, forget it. I spent $60 for an ad that is nothing more than a cover shot with a book description, which links to the author's website. (You get what you pay for, right?) Not very effective at all. The so-called ads don't look like advertising, which is what people expect to see. Advertising promo's, not a list of books. Big difference. Either way, it was a test, as all advertising is and for me, it doesn't work, just like I knew it wouldn't. You may have better luck. Who knows? Good placement also depends on how much one is willing to spend per click, and there are only 2 prime spots to feature the books though. I'm going to up my per click price and see what happens, but I don't think it will make much difference since the premium space is a list just the same.

I like an ad to look like an ad. With a headline and body copy and an offer of some kind. It attracts readers since they're always on the lookout for a bargain or something new. I'll make suggestions to the Goodreads staff and see what they come up with.

My "book giveaway" ends this Friday 14th and hopefully I'll get some reviews in exchange for the free book. That's the deal, sort of. The reviews are not guaranteed. Ufah! I thought this was a good deal? Well it is in many ways. It's all about exposure and credibility at this point. Sales are yet to pick up. It'll take a lot more promos and more time to get things rolling.

I did get a few good comments about the book and that's encouraging, so I need to connect with many more readers within the genre.

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A lot going on with my book promos and I'll keep you posted. I'm having a great time! My LibraryThing Author Chat starts on September 1-11th. I've also posted my book as a giveaway there and so far over 240 people have requsted it. I think I'll switch my author photo to something dorky. That just might help.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Click My Lit

With a name (anagram) like that, what else do you need? Well, for starters, a gorgeous face to go with it. Meet Erin, a very savvy and witty red-head with a great sense of humor and altruistic tendencies. (easy now) She likes to promote self-published authors on her Blog ClickMyLit. I peeped (forgive me, but what other word can go with "tweets") her Tweets (d.e. not intentional) and just couldn't resist finding out more about the blog and who was behind it. She's a sweetheart, check out her Blog and say hello. And if you have a book to promote, she just might feature it on CML.

Just let her know that ProseFreak sent you, you hear me. (That last part is an old expression from the Barrio. Roll with it folks, it's all I got for now.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jeff Bezos - Is He Money Hungry?

And the answer to that would be a huge, resounding, neon flashing in gigantic red letters, YES! You bet he is. Not only is Bezos money hungry, but he aspires to become the richest and most powerful man in the whole wide world. Something like the Sultan of Brunei, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet all rolled into one. What will he do with all this power and wealth BTW? Well, he’ll try to promote and sell shiploads of Kindles, of course.

You know, don’t ask me, but for some reason, Jeff Bezos thinks that the Kindle is the best contraption known to humankind. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Kindle is a good idea, but can you put some color into the damn thing for crying out loud? Now that would be ground-breaking! A new technology that would add full color, maybe even high def to the B&W Kindle and still cost only about $300 a piece. When you get to that milestone Mr. Bezos, I’ll by half a dozen Kindles and praise you from here till Kingdom come. Meanwhile, I’m not falling for it so forget it!

Okay, okay, what am I so huffed about? Oh, nothing really, just want to pick on Jeff Bezos, he’s such an easy target plus I hate the stupid Kindle too. Sue me Bezos, I could use the publicity, and I’d be glad to hand over the only piece of property I have left to my name, which happens to be this cheap-ass Gateway laptop that has a broken hinge BTW. You can have this beauty and revel in its splendor all day long, unless I fling it across the room and smash it to tiny pieces before the courts award it to you. Now that’s hilarious, if I say so myself. Laugh Jeff, it’s a joke!
All right, let me get to the real problem folks. First, I was born. Then, I was born again. But as Huck Finn would say, ‘I didn’t see nothin’ to it, so I let it go.’ Not true, but it sounds good right about now.

Jeff Bezos, WTF is going on with (USA) ? For the love of God, I can even log on to Amazon in Japan,, and every other Amazon on the planet, except the one I really need to log onto. Sure, could be my cheap-ass laptop, but I doubt it. Hey, I’m now buying from B&N, Target, and others. Check my purchasing stats for Amazon, they’re down to zero for the past month. You’ve just lost a customer Bezos. Is that what you really want? And to top it off, I couldn’t enter the godforsaken Amazon Ad Contest for the chance to win $20,000 worth of Amazon Gift Cards. Wow-wee,what a gyp!

Here’s the basis of my title for this Post. You better believe Bezos is money hungry folks. Lord forbid he gives away $20,000 precious American dollars with no strings attached. No way, he wants his money back! Hard to believe, but so true. This is shameful! Bezos, have a heart brother. You’re a billionaire many times over. Can’t you spare 2 cents? I pity the poor homeless!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Alberto R.Arias Author Chat on

Hey folks, I'm back, feeling great and busy as ever. I didn't expect to be away for so long but I'm finally over 2 big hurdles (2 major surgeries) and I hope to recover and literally be back on my feet within the next 6 months or less. It's hard to believe that a hip replacement is worse than open heart surgery, but it is. Still on the pain train but dealing with it.

Okay, here's what's going on. I'll be available for a Q&A and Author Chat on starting next Saturday morning, August 1st-15th. The novel is also available as a Giveaway and will appear in the Book Giveaway starting August 1st. Request the Book here for your chance to win it or any other book you might be interested in: Good luck! Book Giveaway. (I also have another talk scheduled for September 1st on

If you'd like to join me next Saturday, click on the title above and that will link you to the website where you can let me know if you can participate or not. I'm also testing some advertising on this website. I'll let you know the results next month. If it's a good place to promote you might want to check it out. So far I don't see any results of any kind but that could change once the book giveaway begins promoting it. I doubt it though.

Enter to Win a Free Copy of DFB. Wow wee Mama! Uhaaaaw! (Geeky thumbs up)

You can also enter for a chance to win a free copy of the novel during this scheduled chat period. You can increase your chances of winning if you enter another DFB Book Giveaway on too.

Here's the link for the LT DFB Book Giveaway:

I hope to meet you for the Chat next Saturday up until the 15th. Any and all questions are fair game. You can ask me anything about the novel that you've been curious about or anything about marketing, writing, graphic design, whatever you want. If you know anything about me, it's that I will make it interesting and fun and it will be time well spent.

Check out my EVENTS page for some of my new pix. I'm suppossed to be talking up a storm. Not sure if that comes across or not but I tried not getting caught making an awkward face. Come to think of it, I think I look a little like Cameron Crowe if I had longer hair. (I'm sure one of us is insulted.) He directed Vanilla Sky and Almost Famous, which BTW are two of my favorite films. My kind of Director.

Here's the link to the pix:

See you on Saturday or beyond. Yeah, I'll be there, don't you chicken out!


BTW, I have a feeling I'm going to be talking to myself for most of those chat days online since doesn't promote the Book Giveaway's in advance of the Giveaway date like LibraryThingy does, where I already have 150 requests for the novel with over a month to go before the Chat begins on September 1st. By the time the Chat starts, hundreds of people will already be familiar with the book and more likely to discuss it online. Then again who knows, it may be a cricket festival after all.

Either way I'll survive at least until the next gorgeous sunrise dawns over the Yunque Mountains in sunny Puerto Rico. It's always like a dream come true.

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BTW, next Monday I'll be Posting an ad I put together for the Amazon Ad Contest, which I've been unable to uplaod and enter into the contest because my computer has some sort of virus and Amazon happens to be the only website on the planet it won't load up. (A coincidence? Please!) I can log onto and, even Amazon in Japan! But Amazon in USA, no can do folks. That may never happen again in my lifetime. I'm now ordering books from B&N and instead.

Come on back and check out my 30 second Amazon ad next Monday. I don't think it would have won anyway for too many reasons, and It's not LOL funny, but I think it'll put a smile on your face. Poor Frankenstein, he's in trouble again folks. You'll see what I mean.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Secrets of Impulse Purchases

Are you using them?

A few weeks ago, I posted an article and mentioned impulse buying. It’s an important topic I’d like to expand on. But why so much importance on impulse buying? Because, most of the time this is how sales are made. How many times have you not bought a product you really liked because you didn’t have enough information about the product to justify its price, or maybe you were interrupted in the sales process and abandoned the shopping cart, especially when you found out the so-called shipping and handling charge was too high? Or maybe the product presentation was so boring and so lacking in emotion, that you quickly passed on it because it didn’t move you. Maybe you were in a hurry for whatever reason, didn’t order and then forgot all about it five seconds later, forever.

There are a number of legitimate reasons why prospective buyers may not, or simply refuse to buy from you.

Here are the most popular:

1. Your price is either too high or too low. Your price is too high? There’s not enough information about the product to justify its price. And that includes the shipping and handling. What am I getting for $16.95 plus S&H? Is this book worth it or am I getting ripped off? Your price is too low? How can any price be too low? It’s too low when it’s so low that it says: This product is probably damaged and therefore this is why it is dirt cheap. Damaged how? Physically damaged, broken or torn? As far as books go, is the written content inferior? The printing and construction of the book shabby quality? Will it fall apart as I turn the pages? You get the idea.

2. Your credentials are shaky. Who is this guy or gal? What’s their expertise? How much experience do they have in their field? What makes them an authority on this subject? If it’s a novel, what qualifies them as a competent writer? What else have they written that proves they can interest me with a meaningful 400 page story? A story that will add something valuable to my life.

3. The presentation of your product is lame and unexciting. It’s boring and uninspiring. It’s lifeless and meaningless.

4. You’re trying too hard to sell it. You’re too pushy. It’s a hard sell. Something must be rotten in Denmark.

5. You’re not using any photos or videos of yourself. There’s no face to attach to your product. Do you have something to hide? Is this a scam?

6. They don’t like what you have to sell, regardless of your offer.

Okay, we’ll leave it at that. There are other factors but these are the most responsible and the most prevalent for losing a sale, or at least the thought of buying from you. You must realize that selling your book is an uphill battle, but you can level the ground by removing many of the obstacles that block a potential buyer’s way. Above, I’ve listed seven reasons why potential customers may not buy your product. Here’s how to overcome all those objections:

1. Pricing. If you’re not sure how to price your book, just take a look at the prices of similar books in your genre. You want the price of your book to be comparable to those. A little higher or maybe a little lower, but not by much, or the same price will do. Of course you must be able to make a profit at whatever price you set. This will also determine your price and sometimes that may put you out of the running if it’s much higher than other similar books. If so, you’re going to have to re-evaluate the company you’re doing business with. Find another with lower prices so you can mark up your book according to its retail price in the marketplace.

2. Who are you? Do you have some sort of Platform, whether political, societal or in the entertainment industry. If not, what kinds of issues do you stand for now with your book? What are you offering in exchange for trust? What are you promising in your book? A better life? A fulfilling revelation or story that will enhance their life in a meaningful way. What’s in it for them? Let them know with sincerity, passion and conviction.

3. For the love of God, put some emotion into your presentation. How does one go about doing that? Easy, you tie your all-important message, your hook, with relevant music. Not just any music, but music that inspires and moves people to react and take action. You put a lot of heart and soul into your presentation. People can feel it if it’s sincere and heartfelt and most likely they will respond to it.

4. You’re desperate and come across as pushy. You want people to buy your product without giving them a reason to buy it in the first place. You use the word BUY too much, an instant turn-off. You’ve placed Buy Buttons all over the place with red flashing arrows (good Lord). Stop trying to sell and start trying to introduce your product by featuring it in a way that seems useful and meaningful to the prospect. Show it off as large as you can without blowing people away with a huge image they have to back away from. Keep your presentation simple but interesting. Present, don’t sell.

5. Can people see you? Do they know who they’re about to do business with? What about you? Are you trustworthy? Are your photos or videos interesting and assertive, candid? This doesn’t mean you have to smile in every shot, but you must play the part and come across as legitimate and trustworthy. It’s not always easy to get the right shot, but keep trying until you do. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to helping you sell your book, this is truer than ever.

6. Now, if people just don’t like what you have to offer, then maybe they’re in the wrong place. Not much you can do there except adjust your keywords for Search Engine Optimization. Maybe folks are landing on your homepage by accident, because of irrelevant keywords and then quickly back out. Then again, search engines are not perfect either.

So what does any of this have to do with impulse buying and how do you encourage people to buy on impulse? Glad you asked:

1. Present your novel in such an irresistible way that people want to learn more about it. You can’t tell too much. This is the biggest mistake most people make. Stop trying to tell the whole story in one fell swoop. Leave something to their imagination. Tease them, make them curious, motivate them and show what’s in it for them right away. You can do that with the right title, something short (one word is best) and memorable. You must use the right artwork. Something that is thematic to the story or something that will entice them to ask “What’s this all about, what does that mean, why do they show this and not that?”

Give people more reasons than they know what to do with to buy your book. Yes it’s beautiful, yes it’s priced right, yes they trust you, yes they want it, but how do they get it, what’s keeping them from buying it, why should they buy it now?

Because they must have it now and they can’t wait to get it. Why? Because it means so much to them. Why? Because without it, their life will not be the same. Their mundane life will be missing something. Your book will feed their need for, whatever. Their need to understand, their need to be inspired, their need to learn, their need to laugh, their need to cry, their need to hear something different, bizarre, or fascinating. Take your pick, their need to “fill in the blank”.

Buyer’s needs are emotional. It is always that way and no other way. They are human, after all. Fulfill their emotions with your product. Showcase it in a way that fulfills their every desire. Reach deep into their psyche (based on demographics) and universal human needs and tap into their hot buttons then push them all. This doesn’t take force, it takes persuasion. How do you persuade? By answering as many questions about your product as you can and allowing them to come to their own decisions. Offer them more than they expect, if possible, for the same reasonable price. Give something of value away with your product if you possibly can. Make it easy for them to buy. Accept all forms of payment. In short, you must hit a home run with the bases loaded. Nothing else will do. Take no chances. Leave no stone unturned.

And remember this little gem: none of this will do you any good if your presentation falls into the wrong hands. There are plenty of wonderful books, and products out there that I have no interest in whatsoever. Why? Because they don’t hold a special emotional meaning for me and therefore, they are useless to me in all their grandeur and splendor. I can’t respond to (or buy) something that I feel has no emotional value to me. Period. You must get your message to the intended audience. How do you know who your intended audience is? You’ll know in part by instinct, in part by research, and in part by trial and error.

Most of the time, impulse purchases are the only chance you’re going to get to make a sale. People are busy, they are jaded, they’re in a hurry. Use these factors in your favor, not against you. Put together a lean and mean product presentation at the right price, in the right place, and at the right time, and see the difference it should make in sales. My definition of an Impulse Purchase is when a prospective customer is sold on your idea alone and everything else is icing on the proverbial cake. In other words, they've immediately decided that they want and must have your product, for whatever personal reason, and they want it now, and click away without a second thought. This is the ideal sales scenario. What if after they've bought your book and have second thoughts about it? Well, if they can't return it, they can always use it as a doorstop. Why should you care, you already sold it. (Oh my, how callouse. Although you should care because it hinders good word of mouth. Then again, any publicity is good publicity. Shameful.)

"Your objective is to align the moon and the stars in all their glory, insofar that they will shine upon you and your book in the most irresistible and flattering moonlight. In other words, get everything right the first time and don't look back."

Don’t keep this article a secret for fear of competition in the marketplace. Surely, it must have value to you. And it’s free. Read it again. Learn from it. Improve your marketing. Dare to share it. I just did. (Whatever.)


I’ll be away next week but there are plenty of interesting articles you probably haven’t read before. Check out the archives to your right for more good stuff. I’ll be back soon. I bid you peace. Godspeed. (Look, they're right there -->>)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chip Kidd--The Master of Design Disaster, and More

Meet the rock star of Book Jacket Design

If you haven’t heard of Chip Kidd, well now you will. And the only reason I learned about him was because, as a designer myself, I was curious enough to find out who designed McCarthy’s Border Trilogy book covers. Not because I liked the designs, but because I found them…odd. Not odd in a bad way, but just strange enough to make me want to look into the story behind the designer.

His oddest cover of the trilogy is the first, from All the Pretty Horses. Every time I looked at that cover on the internet, I couldn’t make out the imagery. It looked like some kind of furry, freakish Teradactile, belly-up, wanting to take a bite out of something. (I know, I need help.) Of course, the image was just not large enough to figure it out. But when I got the book, I was amazed at the composition of this image. It was, of course, the mane of a young pony and what had appeared like the beak of the Teradactile was the pony’s ears. Why couldn’t I figure that out to begin with? Good question. I think it was like one of those Rorschach Inkblot Tests. Like when you look at the Batman logo, sometimes it looks like a pair of large fangs, sometimes it looks like, well, the Batman logo. It all depends on which image you see, the negative or the positive.

Okay, you get the idea. I’m delusional. The point is, opposites attract, meaning that unlike my designs, which are more like reality taken into another dimension, Kidd’s designs, for the most part, are very abstract, unconventional, and to me, disturbing. And I mean that in the sense that they’re so unusual, they make me uncomfortable, and I’m referring to my mind’s eye, as a designer.

Kidd certainly breaks every rule in the design book, over and over again. Of course you have to know the rules in order to break them. And I think it’s safe to say that Chip Kidd does not aspire to be the next Da Vinci or Michaelangelo of the modern art world. He’s very happy being Chip Kidd, the rebel, anti designer. Have you seen Tarantino’s Death Proof? There’s an interesting comparison, right there. (BTW, Tarantino’s upcoming Inglorious Basterds is sure to become a masterpiece.)

So let’s get to the real question. How do book cover designs influence your decision to buy the book? Or do they have any influence at all? I’ve never bought a book just because of its cover, I think. Although, book covers weigh-in as far as my decision to buy certain stories. Although, as an art lover, I’ve been tempted to buy a book just because of the cover artwork. Too many to mention, though. But the story does come first. It’s just so much better if I really like the cover. It makes my buying decision so much easier. And there you have the reason behind alluring covers. They help sell stories. If I had money to burn, I suppose I would collect thousands of books just for their cover artwork, but for the most part, I don’t. There are a few exceptions that I couldn’t resist and will remain unmentioned. (Go ahead writers, burn me at the stake.)

That in no way suggests that I’m putting art over literature. Although, I will buy a book based on its cover art, even if the story is not a genre that I usually read, as long as the story has something to offer that is useful to me. That said, I’m a stickler for Literary Fiction.

So here’s the thing. Many people do buy Chip Kidd’s cover designs for the sake of the art, not so much the story. Why? Because Chip Kidd is a brand unto himself, and his artwork is collectible. Yes, his art is hideous at times, “monstrously ugly” in the words of the late John Updike, but Kidd has managed to break through the stereotypical world of design and has become an icon of sorts to those who appreciate the Avant Garde. Not a bad position to be in if you’re a graphic designer.

But not all of Kidd’s jacket designs are hideous. I especially like, Celluloid Skyline, for James Sanders, Hard Rain for Tim Riley, and Augusten Burrough’s cover for Magical Thinking, to name just three.

So who is Chip Kidd, after all? Glad you asked. He’s more than a graphic designer. He’s also a writer and a musician. (Cool music too. He might have missed hi real calling—so far.)

Bottom line: Chip Kidd is a brave man. Check out this hilarious video to see what I mean.

Here’ his website:


So What's going on for next Monday? I'm delving into one of my favorite topics, Impulse Buying (yes, I'm preaching to the choir again) only this time I'll talk about another aspect about buying decisions that also influences the impulse purchase and how you can apply it to marketing your book. See you then.