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Book Marketing Tip of the Week
April 8, 2009: Behave Yourself Day, Buddha's Birthday, American Synagogue Day, Step into the Spotlight! Day, Zoo Lovers Day, International Fung Shui Awareness Day

Details on these days — and 18,500 others! — can be found in
John Kremer's Celebrate Today Special Events Data Files.

In this issue . . .
-- Amazon Is Stupid feedback
-- specialty retailers
-- getting sponsors for your book at $10,000 a pop!
-- selling books to schools

Amazon Is Stupid feedback
I received a lot of feedback on Amazon's new policy. I feature the comments plus my replies at

According to Cheryl Tardif, Amazon has apparently relented and is now allowing the author's name and book title in signatures of book reviews. No links are allowed.

Meanwhile, here are a few comments I found interesting. The first comment below completely misunderstood the new policy:

I don’t think that policy is at all stupid. What credibility can a book review have if it is written by the author of the book being reviewed? Amazon simply does not want its review process used for shameless self-promotion and even though I am an author and book publisher I totally agree with that position.

John's Comment: This isn't about authors reviewing their own books. It's about authors reviewing other books and products on Amazon. Amazon is telling authors that when they review other books, they cannot list their credentials: no book title, no website, no link to their Amazon book page.

I agree with you that an author reviewing their own book is shameless and stupid. I could see why Amazon would not want those reviews. But why would Amazon cut out their best reviewers: other authors?

As a group, authors read more books than 95% of the population. Authors also buy more books than 95% of the population. That means that authors really are in the best position to review books.

Why in the world would Amazon limit the ability of authors to give their credentials — which provides potential customers with a good reason to give more credence to such reviews? If Stephen King reviews a novel, I know it's going to be great. But how will I know if the reviewer on Amazon is the noted horror novelist or one of thousands of other Stephen Kings around the world? Even Stephen King won't be able to give his credentials.

[There is one way, but many customers wouldn't know to do it: You can click on the reviewer's name to find out a little more about him or her.]


So, John, how do you REALLY feel about I am sorry ... just had to ask. :-)

John's Comments: I love Amazon on many levels. They have sold a ton of books for authors and publishers. They do many things right. They do a few things really badly. Their interaction with authors is terrible. Their interaction with customers is a whole lot better.

I've gotten so many emails from authors and publishers in the past complaining about trying to get something done with Amazon, especially correcting book listings. I get tired of that. I've been trying to get Amazon to eliminate one review of my book that is completely misleading. I think it affects the sale of my book, but they have never done anything even after I proved the review was full of mistruths. That is frustrating.

So, as with all good things, there is a love-hate relationship. It would be all love if Amazon didn't get so corporate sometimes and make it almost impossible to implement changes for authors and publishers.

specialty retailers
Here are a few specialty retailers . . .

The Book Shop at Heritage, Heritage Christian Center, 9495 E Florida
Avenue, Denver CO 80247; 303-369-8514; Fax: 303-337-2051. Web: Christian bookstore and boutique.

A Heart's Delight, 100 N Main Street, Upper Level, Town Square Mall #209, Breckenridge CO 80424; 970-372-5228. Fairy gifts, toys, books, crystals, jewelry, and more.

getting sponsors for your book at $10,000 a pop!
In each issue of this newsletter I'd like to feature a book marketing story from an author. Kaayla Canfield, author of Simply Going Green in 3 Years or Less, suggested I feature an author in each issue and then ask the readers of this newsletter to forward the author's story to their own lists. That way each featured author (and his or her book) would get exposed to hundreds of thousands of readers.

As Kaayla noted, “If all the subscribers that you have, forwarded the newsletter on to their own email base, the coverage would be incredible, and we would all benefit from it. Again, it is just a thought...trying to think of ways to help us all out in this slow time.”

In publishing her book, Kaayla found a number of sponsors for her book. Each sponsor paid $10,000 to be in her book (and associated with the good cred for sponsoring an ecological book). In addition, one of her sponsors, Lafarge North America, will present her book to the media at the American Institute of Architecture in late April.

To contact sponsors, she started by phoning companies first to find out who to speak to about sponsorships. Once she had spoken to that person, she asked if she could send them some information via email.

As part of her offer, she allowed sponsors to also buy books at a 50% discount. Sponsors have chosen to buy copies for their employees. Some have also chosen to buy copies to give to the media. As Kaayla notes, “That is a bonus for me, as the book will hopefully be written about by the media, which gives me extra exposure, and then extra book sales.”

When she was looking for potential sponsors, she checked out various eco green websites to see who sponsored them.

She also suggests that authors look for big companies that are financially stable. Most of her sponsors are well known in Canada where she lives and two are international companies (BFI Canada and Lafarge North America).

She sent me a copy of the letter she sent to the potential sponsors. You can find it here: Note that the letter is very specific for her book, but I've noted in her sample how you could change it to apply to other books.

Kaayla notes that many authors would probably go the sponsorship route if they knew how: “It really is not hard. One just needs to persevere.”

selling books to schools
Here's another tip provided by Kaayla:

One more thing...I have been having some luck by contacting schools directly by email and telling them about my book. I think that any writer that has an educational book, should try that. Many schools still have money to purchase educational books for their teachers, students, and libraries.

Quotable Books
Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise. — Lewis Thomas, biologist

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