Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays from Martin Brown/Ampichellis

From our family to yours, we wish you the very merriest of holiday seasons filled with peace, love, hope and joy. May the wonderment of the holidays be yours all the year through.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gangnam Style Marketing




Authors, if you’re curious about how effective your marketing efforts are, one of the very best ways is to search for your name or your book’s title on Google. If you only get a couple of hits, that means not many readers know your novel even exists.   That’s why you need to use Gangnam style marketing.

Beyond paid advertising, how can you improve exposure? One way is to blog regularly. But you also have to reach beyond just blogging. The best way is to learn all you can about blogging effectively. If you do it right, each time you post a story on your blog, a search bot will find key words within your post and give you an enter something about you on the internet. The more effective your SEO(Search Engine Optimization) keyword choices, the more effective will be your blogging effort. Also, you need to know if anyone is looking at your blog, so be sure you have a counter that keeps track of hits.

Be active on at least one social network. However, if you’re active on more than one, your name will  begin showing up when you search on Google. Be social on social networks. Don’t try to sell your book there. Unpaid ads on social networks are considered spam and no one likes to be spammed. Trying to save money will only accomplish turning potential readers off. Use social time to get to know folks. Be a person, make your time there fun. Use your profile to announce that you are the author of your title or titles. If people like you and are interested in what you do, out of curiosity, they’ll seek out your book and possibly buy a copy.

Get others to talk about you. This is one is both easy and difficult. The chances of getting attention for writing something awful are often higher than writing something good. That’s just human nature and the way things are. However, you must think positively. For instance, if someone writes a review on your book, it might show up in a Google search. But if you do something dumb, the odds are even better that what you did will end up on UTube and sometimes, depending on what you did, that’s not all bad either.

Entries spoil fast, so I’m sorry to say that you must keep posting and being friendly. Also, don’t overlook linking to other blogs and getting others to link back.  Having a blog and logging is still your most  powerful tool and much more effective, if used correctly, than hyping your book on social networks.

One of the worse things an author can do is to wait until his or her publisher sets up a big marketing campaign just for them. If you’re a new, single title author, this action is unlikely. For instance, we do market our author’s works, but we market our entire list of author’s works. If you want individual treatment, sell loads of novels. High sales will get your name on a best-sellers list and that type advertising is worth lots more than any ad a publisher can buy for you. Yes, we do help get your books out there, but sales are what you need to become a celebrity author. Sales are almost automatic when you reach celebrity author status. So your mission, should you accept it, is to market your work so that you too can sell a butt load of books.

Lastly, online marketing takes loads of time, but the rewards are well worth the effort. On the other side of the coin lies failure. If you do nothing to get your titles out there, all the labor you put into your writing is wasted because without a name, your book is just like every other book and there are millions out there. The world is filled with books. If no one knows where to look for your literary diamond, they will only find it only by accident. Think of using the internet correctly as giving each potential reader a metal detector so they can find your buried treasure.

Connect with us on http://www.mbpubs.com. Drip by and see what we have. If you’ve authored a book or novel and would like to see it in print, check out how to contact us here or on our Web site.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Crying Wolf



A colleague of mine recently sent me a link to a NY Times article about how the publishing world is so pissed off at Amazon because they supposedly stack the deck against—who else?—publishers. Oh my, I almost wept when I read how abused and put upon we all are.
But I only wept a second. Well, maybe it was a microsecond. Whatever.

The reason I didn’t weep too long is because I really, really know that the deck is NOT stacked against anyone who isn’t a huge foreign-owned, multi-national publishing entity. Let me explain what I mean when I say huge. Huge is those publishers like Random House, owned by German media empire Bertelsmann A.G., along with Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, which owns Henry Holt, St. Martin's Press, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. They have little room to call Amazon names as they have hogged book markets for years, churning out crap and making superstars out of half-assed authors. My definition of crap would be anything they call a hit. Readers know those to whom I refer.
During the times of Twilight, that sweet romance about supposed youth finding themselves, adults where exploring romances with a little sex (and sometimes a lot of sex) mixed in, which, by the way, is much more interesting and enlightening for adults than reading about fear of having sex because your mate might kill you.

Romances of the extremely spicy type were, and still are, sold by very small, American-owned, online houses. These small houses have also become the launching pad for many new authors who had more to offer than what was, and still is, coming out of New York. I’m not advocating those novels in which there is sex and little else. What I’m referring to are those books that are very well written and have adult content mixed in.

The e-book has always been the true realm of erotica and erotic romance. Finally the majors have discovered that these types of stories sell, though it took the publication of 50 Shades of Grey, a tome that pales in comparison to what readers of e-books have been enjoying for years. So in this respect, major publishing is a little late to the game. In the past, the reads that brought e-books to the forefront of publishing were works the majors considered contemptible at best and beneath their dignity to produce.

Then, five or so years ago, the beginning of something awful happened to major publishing houses.
 
Gasp---Kindle--Gasp

OMG. Almost immediately large publishers could see their demise written on their prestigious penthouse office walls. By listening closely, one could hear actual whispers of their whimpering and quavering followed by mass firings, reorganizations and cutting backs, all because of one lil’ ol’ e-book reader.  

Distribution, controlled for years by them, was all lost in a matter of weeks. Why? Because e-book publication cost almost nothing compared to print, and worst of all, Amazon opened its arms to that pond scum that large publishers’ agents had turned down for years. They had tried to keep out the unclean and now they had to compete with them—“Oh no! I see the end of publishing as we knew it. We’ve lost control,” was the cry heard up and down Midtown Manhattan. “That damned Amazon has figured a way around our dominance of our, I repeat, OUR industry. How dare they allow this to happen?”

When that bugger Amazon opened its doors wide to any everyone who could  type two lines into their word processor, it also allowed small guys like us to gain a leg up on them, too. The archaic, brick and mortar distribution protective walls came crashing down. There are no gatekeepers. For the first time ever, small publishers and single title authors can compete on equal footing with the big boys. It’s readers who now choose what is readable instead of someone else doing it for them. A new day has arrived and now big publishers are saying that Amazon has stacked the deck against them. So no, I don’t weep for them. Actually, I have a hard time each morning wiping the grin off my face, especially when I’m processing royalty payments. Competition’s a bitch, isn’t it?

Come visit us at www.mbpubs.com.  We’re always looking for writers we can cultivate and partner with in the publishing game. It’s a new era, and an exciting time for all of us.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

We Are Not Agents!!



Recently, I'm reading this query letter and liking it. After the author wows me with a fabulous one paragraph summarization of her novel and I'm about to request the work, I read, "I am looking for an agent to consider representing me."

What I feel at this point is dismay, which switches to frustration then anger. This might sound irrational or maybe even borderline insane, but that's how I feel.  What on earth would possess a person to query a publisher and ask for representation? Yes, I used to be an agent, but it's been two years since I've represented anyone. Also, what's even more disturbing is that this person went to our publishing Web site, which clearly states we are publishers, to get the address they used to query us.

P.S.  For those who send us queries asking for representation, please note that you will be referred to this blog post, after which your query will be rejected, unanswered.  

If this were a rare occurrence, I wouldn't be concerned or angry, but in the last month alone I've received at least 25 queries from authors seeking representation. Not only is this a complete waste of time for both of us, it's also scary that these unaware authors are leaving themselves wide open to be easily plucked by the unscrupulous. 

Let's examine that for a moment: Suppose I did write back to these 25 and offered to represent them, as they wished.  To make this work, what if wrote: I would love to represent you and will as soon as your novel is brought up to standard. We offer a wonderful editing service for which we charge a small fee of X dollars. Our editors are the best in the world (at this point there's usually testimonials, written, of course, by this very same person).  After the testimonials, there's usually a promise of representation AFTER the edits are complete, of course. But these edits usually follow other edits until the author, now out a few thousand dollars, calls a halt and demands his or her money back—which never happens.  

This actually happens, by the way. Authors are taken to the cleaners by people who operate and have been operating scams of this sort for years. Authors who do no research are their prey.  So, with all that said, we need your help. Please, if you would, go to our Web address and see what's there that makes authors think we might represent their work. If there's something that might be misleading, we must fix it. Our site address is http://www.mbpubs.com.  Thank you for your help.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Market This



The sun came up this morning and WILL set this evening. Night WILL come and much of the world WILL sleep. These things are a given and expected.

Expecting a market for your book upon publication is a fool's errand. Readers only line up in anticipation for the next release in the Hunger Games series. They won't automatically anticipate your novel's release until you are a multi-published, New York Times Besting Author a couple of times over.

This is a fact and would be the case for any product in a market awash to the point of overflowing with items of poor quality. In this type market, your book's success—or failure—depends almost entirely on your willingness to put maximum effort into introducing it to its potential readers.

Successful book marketing comes with the knowledge that each day readers have hundreds of millions of other books to choose from. Failure is assured for those authors who believe the crap that the publisher will do all your marketing for you, that they will spend a minimum of $30,000 promotion, so all you have to do is write. Some publishers spread this hype to limit their competition, but most do it so they can attract writers away from other publishers; those smaller than they or possibly those who use a more candid approach (don't lie about how to be successful).

Automatically successful books come from those authors who work their known audiences. Successful authors keep email lists and communicate with their fans through any media available. Successful authors still market the hell out of their books. If you participate in social networking, you will see them there. Successful authors, TO STAY SUCCESSFUL, must be available to their reader fans. So what makes you, beginning author, think you are better than they?

The basic question still remains: do you want to be successful or do you just want to write. If you want to just write, then don't expect to be successfully published. It's not going to happen unless you establish an audience for what your writing effort produces. In other words, why build bird houses if there are no birds.
Bottom line is that you must market your books to be successful. If you now believe that part, we can continue with the how-to-do-it part. If not, then stop here:

1. If you ARE NOT active on the major social networks like Twitter and Facebook, then you must become established there. Do that before you do anything else. By the time your novel is published, you must be writing on both many times daily and have at least 300 followers or friends on each. Establishing this following only takes a month if you work at it. But don't stop there.

2. You must have an established blog, be posting interesting content (not about writing). Subject matter must be well thought out and unique. Read other's postings to get familiar with what they write, then write different stuff. A couple to check are Don Travis and Richard Smith's blogs  I would also suggest using Blogger on which to create your blog. Blogger is much easier to work with than some of the others. Blogger is free and Blogger won't bug you about getting their upgrade because they only have the free one.

4. Begin building excitement about your upcoming novel. You should have been doing this about the time you started writing it, however, most new authors still believe hype (see above).

5. Establish yourself on Goodreads. Read other's novels and comment on them. Build reader friends here too. You'll need them later.

6. Look for book launch parties on Facebook and become a part of them. Helping others also pays off because they, in turn, might help you when it's your turn to create your book launch party.

7. Establish yourself on LinkedIn as an author. Establish an account on any and all  social network you can find. All effort should be directed toward establishing the fact that you are a professional author and that you have a NEW book coming out. Never admit that you are a NEW author.

8. Learn all you can about marketing. This knowledge will serve you well.

9. Explore Amazon.com, the largest book retailer in the world. Your novel, when published, will appear here. Learn what Amazon can do for you as far as free promotional opportunities. Also check out Barnes andNoble and Kobo Books. Kobo has far reach and is already established in Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Asian markets. We publish our authors here so learn what they can do for you.

10. Please check us out at http://www.mbpubs.com. We would love to work with you to produce a fine novel; one that you'll be proud to show off and, most importantly, one that readers will love. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ginger Release


It's Friday and the long anticipated novel, GINGER by Carmen Verbas, is now available on Amazon for Kindle readers.

Why is this a big deal?  Because we believe this novel has the makings of a NYT best-seller. If you are doubtful of this, download a copy. We will be selling GINGER for $.99 for a limited time.

YES, YOU HEARD THIS RIGHT—$.99.

It is not good for man to be alone.—Genesis 2:18

Paradise, Pennsylvania has one thousand residents, two of whom don’t belong.  The first is Eliza, a beautiful, gifted girl who could have any boy she wants.  The problem is she doesn’t want just any boy.  She wants answers.

The second is Lucas, an equally beautiful boy who knows everything Eliza wants to know but is determined not to tell her.  He’ll light her first cigarette, hold her hair as she vomits her first beer, even guide her through her first kiss, but he won’t explain to her who she is or just where her parents have gone.  Because her parents are his parents, her past his past.  Lucas is Eliza’s brother.

And, in the end, that means everything.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Great Balls-o-Fire and Fifty Shades of Grey


Major publishers have finally discovered what erotic romance and erotica authors have known for years, which is that some female (and male) readers enjoy stories that explore the realms beyond the typical suburban bedroom, if, indeed, that's what Fifty Shades of Grey does. There's still some lingering doubt about where it fits and if the relationship portrayed in it borders on abusive or not. We leave that to readers to decide, but for the purposes of this post, we'll pretend that the trilogy actually contains something close to what readers can buy as a believable premise, even if they have to suspend belief and give the author the benefit of the doubt throughout the book to do it. We'll be discussing more how this book typifies the reticence or inability of major publishers to recognize what readers want or need in satisfying entertainment (whether their authors are capable of giving it to them or not).
 This is not news to anyone who served as a literary agent representing romance in the last decade, because the romance genre encompasses a wide variety of categories ranging from mainstream with romantic elements to erotic romance to highly literary erotica. However, it just shows how little major publishers know about their readers.

Five or six years ago, one of our literary agents approached all these same publishers with a non-fiction piece written by an actual dominatrix.  Although intrigued, most who were approached blushed and rejected it because of the subject matter not being mainstream enough.  They clearly had no idea of the growing interest in this area and many had no idea about what it even was.

So it's laughable that the majors actually think they've stumbled on to something hot. The fact is that erotic romance readers, a huge target demographic, have been enjoying kink for years. There are publishers and publishing imprints dedicated to books with this angle. However, most majors dragged their feet in this area or simply didn't take the time to properly build a line of books that would appeal to readers with this interest.

A few years ago, one editor at a major who had been delegated the unenviable task of ramping up an erotic romance/erotica line at her publishing house mentioned that she was really tired of having to read "those kinds of books." You see, it wasn't her area of expertise. She couldn't tell good from bad, nor did she have the stomach for the exotic tastes of the characters she encountered. In typical major publisher fashion, her house had assigned someone to build a line of books as more of a token effort than a serious response to the reading needs of their potential audience.

I'm often amazed that publishers don't remember what saved the movie industry. I've wanted to scream in their ears the word VIDEOTAPE, or more exactly, SEX ON VIDEOTAPE. The fact is, whether we like it or not, VHS stories with graphic sex, poor quality and all, paved the way for this medium and later made other genres of movies on tape and, still later,  on DVD, acceptable. Without sex in all its many assorted variations, the movie industry would have disappeared and the VCR along with it. But we don't talk about this because such things are deemed to be inappropriate or smut.  Sex, no matter how it's wrapped, to some folks is bad.
            
 Well, except to millions of readers, it appears.

So it now seems that maybe the nearly dead dinosaur has awoken; major publishing  has finally discovered BDSM sells. Hoorah!! But is it soon enough to save them? Doubtful.  I'm glad to see this change, though, because I'm tired of every writer in the world querying me with The Hunger Games rip-offs. My Inbox is a much more interesting place now. ;)