The Book Marketing expert, the owner of Open Horizons Publishing and the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books
How to prepare the right book launch and marketing plan, what to do step by step?
How to plan a giveaway campaign on amazon efficiently? How to pitch publishers efficiently? How Self Published authors should create their book codes and ISBN correctly?
With English and Arabic Subtitle
John Kremer is a Book marketing expert, the owner of Open Horizons Publishing and the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books
Book marketing expert John Kremer is the owner of Open Horizons Publishing. He is the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books; Book Marketing Magic: How to Sell Your Novel, Children’s Book, Memoir, or Nonfiction Book Like a Pro; The Complete Direct Marketing Sourcebook; Do-It-Yourself Book Publicity Kit; and Celebrate Today.
He is also the developer of the Ten Million Eyeballs Internet marketing self-study course and the Blog Tour Palooza program.
As a book marketing consultant, his clients include a self-published author who has sold over two million books, a new age publisher with 60 titles, and a $100 million publisher with a rapidly growing list of 1,000 titles.
John is the founder of the Institute on Book Publishing Innovations as well as The Book Marketing Network social network for book authors and publishers (http://www.thebookmarketingnetwork.com).
John Kremer is 63 years old. His wife Gail, a storyteller, is author of Little Fox and the Golden Hawk. They live in Taos, New Mexico, where they take care of two dogs named Becky and Elsie.
For more about John Kremer’s book marketing consulting services, click here.
For more about John Kremer’s speaking events and book promotion seminars, click here.
“John Kremer deserves the thanks of so many of us. John has set a standard and example, showing us how to keep focused while looking ahead, be creative while playing by the rules, how to achieve the impossible while approaching our tasks one item at a time, and how to maintain our integrity while never, ever giving up.” — Mary Westheimer
John Kremer is an acknowledged publishing expert who can answer all your questions on book publishing and marketing. Besides being the owner of his own publishing company (Open Horizons in Taos, New Mexico), he was the editor of the Book Marketing Update newsletter for more than twenty years.
John is the founder of the Institute on Book Publishing Innovations as well as The Book Marketing Network social network for book authors and publishers (http://www.thebookmarketingnetwork.com).
As a book promotion expert, John is also the author of a number of books on publishing and marketing, including 1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers (6th Edition), Book Marketing Magic, Real Fast Book Marketing, 15,000 Eyeballs Internet Marketing Program, The Complete Direct Marketing Sourcebook, High Impact Marketing on a Low Impact Budget, and Celebrate Today.
He has also designed the Do-It-Yourself Book Publicity Kit and databases of the Top 700 Booksellers and Public Libraries.
John Kremer has spoken at book publishing, marketing, and publicity seminars in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, Denver, Boulder, Tucson, Portland, Seattle, Bellevue, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Toronto, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Phoenix, Saint Louis, Kennebunkport, Atlanta, Fresno, Indianapolis, Nashville, West Palm Beach, Saint Petersburg, Melbourne, Alexandria, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Sacramento, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Des Moines, Cleveland, Omaha, Calgary, London, Las Vegas, Washington DC, and many other cities.
His speeches have ranged from half-hour talks on book marketing to two-hour sessions on getting national publicity to three-day seminars on how to open new markets for your books.
Here are just a few of the hot topics John can talk on . . .
- The A to Z Guide to Building Brands and Selling Rights
- Creating a Brand: The 10 Principles of Success
- Book Promotion 101: The secrets to book marketing success
- Selling Rights: The Basis of a Successful Publishing Company
- Seven Secrets of Success in Marketing
- How to Open New Markets
- 12 Alternatives to a Press Release — That Get Results
- 25 Ways to Make the National News
- How to Create a National Bestseller — Without Breaking the Bank
- How to Build Your Customer List for Little or No Money
- How to Sell to Special Markets: Catalogs, Premium Sales, Etc.
- 50 Creative Book Marketing Ideas
- What I Have Learned in 20 Years of Book Marketing
How to Create an Amazon.com Bestseller and 20 Other Ways to Sell More Books on Amazon
Website & Social media links
- Why and how you decided to become an author and book marketing consultant?
- What’s your background?
- How did you start in the internet marketing would?
- How to prepare the right book launch and marketing plan, what to do step by step?
- How to plan a giveaway campaign on amazon efficiently?
- How authors can be featured in the media efficiently?
- What’s The book marketing network?
- What’s the blog tour palooza? Why you created different blogs for your services and didn’t focus on putting all these content on only one blog?
- How to create a supper start blog tour for authors?
- How authors can create a loyal tribe efficiently?
- Which book designing service do you recommend?
- Where to find the best book editors and agent?
- Top 2 editors that you recommend?
- Do you recommend authors to use different editor for each one of their books and why?
- Top 2 agents that you recommend for non-fiction and fiction?
- How to pitch publishers efficiently?
- How the open book horizons publishing works in terms of deals with authors?
- Is it possible to agree with traditional publishers without giving their online selling rights?
- Publishing Vs. Self – Publishing, if the author has both options to choose from, which one to choose?
- Best e-books and audio books distributors that you can recommend?
- How Self Published authors should create their book codes and ISBN correctly?
- How self published authors can pitch book stores efficiently?
- How to hit the amazon best selling list? How many books are required to be sold and within how long?
- How to hit the wall street journal list?
- How to hit the new york times best selling list? How many books are required to be soled?
- Is it possible for self published authors to hit eh NY Times list?
- What are the types of coaching packages that you have and how much do you charge for 1 on 1 coaching sessions?
- Do you handle the entire marketing campaign for launching and marketing a certain book, if you do, how much it costs?
- Best blogs for book marketing that you recommend?
- How many online and offline team members are working with you?
- Best service that you recommend for book trailers?
- Tell us more about your other projects that you are currently working on or planning for the future?
- Share with us some of the tools or software that make you more efficient?
- What’s your daily life and work routine looks like?
- What are your other hobbies?
- Who are your top 3 mentors?
- If you have the chance, what would you say to advice your younger self?
- What are your top 3 favorite books?
- What are the top 3 people that you are inspired by?
- What makes you really happy?
- How people can contact you?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this WebTV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life their tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me John Kremer, he is a book marketing expert and he is the owner of open horizons publishing and he is also the author of 1001 ways to market your books, welcome to the show John.
John Kremer: Thanks, I’m glad to be here, had a little trouble getting here but I’m here.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you for your time. So why and how did you decide to become an author and book marketing consultant?
John Kremer: Well I’ve always wanted to be a writer ever since high school, so one point I decided okay I’m going to start and I started my self publishing a book and very quickly found out that most of the people that were self-publishing at that time, this was back in 1984, really didn’t know what they were doing and I knew at least some stuff about marketing so I started to write a book about marketing books.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So from the beginning what’s your background, what did you study or from the beginning did you just focus on becoming a writer?
John Kremer: My college major was an interdisciplinary major in the study of anarchy, which is basically the study of can society survive without a government? And I came to the conclusion that government is convenient.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And how many books did you write before you decided to become a consultant and book publishing later?
John Kremer: Well I published two books and that I wrote the book on marketing books and that got me into consulting because people have additional questions, so I ended up having to become a consultant and coach in marketing because the demand was there. I wrote the book about marketing because I was helping a friend market his toy and gift company. And so I was doing everything from catalog marketing to premium marketing, gift and retail shops and things like that. So I got a wide experience in helping him to set up his company so that it when it came to marketing books it wasn’t perfect, they don’t translate perfectly, but it was good enough. I knew more about marketing than most people that were publishing books at the time.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you started getting more into the Internet marketing is it like when Amazon started and you are very very advanced, like very up-to-date and what’s going on in the Internet world.
John Kremer: Well I started marketing on the Internet in 1984, that’s when I created my website. And at that time there were all these – America Online was the way a lot of people got on to the Internet, but I created my first website in 1994 and I’ve just grown from there, I now have I think around 40 websites, about 20 of them that are active right now.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why did you blog and create different sites and link them together, don’t you think focusing on one is more I don’t know…?
John Kremer: It’s smarter but I have all these different interests and I wanted to keep them basically separated, but I do have a catchall website now called my incredible website. And that sort of my catchall for all of the things that I’m interested in now, and I’m slowly phasing out some of my websites and putting them into that website.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: My incredible website.
John Kremer: My incredible website.com.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Can you take a step by step through the process of how to plan the right launch or marketing for a book? Whether it’s self published or published?
John Kremer: Either way, if you’re going to launch a book what you need our partners because you can do it by yourself. You don’t have enough people following you, there’s very few authors who have more than 10,000 followers if they have that. And that’s not enough to sell very many books. Even if you have 30,000 people following you on twitter, that’s small in today’s world. There was a time where if you had 30,000 followers on twitter there would be big publishers wanting to give you a contract but that was like five years ago. Nowadays you need partners, you need people that already are reaching the audience you want to reach and they are willing to help you launch your book. Either because they are JV partners with you or they simply like you and your book. But you do need partners, people that will mail to their customers, people that will interview you, either in Skype like this, Google hangouts or an audio teleconference interview, anything like that. You need to have partners that are going to blog about your book, write about it and so on. I have a friend Joel Calm, you might know him, he wrote twitter power 3.0 that’s coming out at the beginning of March and he’s already starting to marshal his forces to get all his friends and family to market the book and I’m part of that launch. You do need a lot of people involved to make it happen well, you have two or three people involved, even if they have a great list it’s probably not good enough to make your bestseller, and certainly not good enough to sell 10,000 copies of something like that. So for that you need a lot of partners.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But how about like does that mean for the people just starting, means they have to publish or self published three books until they build some following and some partners and they get well known in the market, so they can hit certain lists or are there some companies that you recommend that you can work with them to do all of that for them?
John Kremer: I haven’t found a company that I feel is good enough to do that, I do think that you don’t have to have published a lot of books, you could start and launch one book, but you have to create some kind of visibility on the Internet so you can create – you might know Tim Ferris with the four hour work week, for the year prior to the launch of his book, he attended live a lot of Internet marketing conferences and made friends with people. He took them out for drinks, he took them out for dinner, he got to know them and his question for them was how can I help you? And then once he established some friendship with them and started helping them, then when he was ready to launch he asked them would you help me as well? And they were happy to help him because he had already been helping them and he had a perfect topic for Internet marketers – work for four hours a week. That’s the dream of most Internet marketers.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But how about like if someone will go with the publisher, is that only if he is very famous author he can close a big publishing company so they can take care of most of these things and market for him? As well he has to market as well and make relationships.
John Kremer: In today’s world every author has to be a marketer, whether they are published by a large publisher or they are using a print on demand publisher or simply publishing e-books. They still have to be the marketer because in today’s world the big publishers are lost, they don’t know how to market a book unless the author is famous. And if the authors and famous your book is going to get lost if you sell it to a big publisher. They are going to know what to do with it, so they all, almost every publisher even smaller publishers nowadays keep asking the author one major question, what is your platform? Do you have an author platform? And the platform is simply a ready-made audience, do you have people that love you, know you and trust you so that they will be eager to buy your book? Then it makes it easy for the publisher to help you market that book. But if you don’t have a ready-made audience the publisher is going to take it to their normal audience and it’s probably not going to be good enough for your book.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But if I have a big following, why should I go publish with a publisher, like I sell it and make more money, or just because of the credibility, what’s your point on that?
John Kremer: The main reason you go with a big publisher is for credibility and publicity. They are going to always get more possibility of getting on the national TV show or something like that. It’s very tough for a self published author to get on the today show, it’s been done but it’s tough. Whereas with the publisher if they are supporting you, they’ve got the connections, they’ve got the trust of the producers of the today show so that people will – the producers will book the author. So credibility and publicity and distribution, if your book needs to sell in bookstores, you’re always going to have stronger distribution with a big publisher. The disadvantage of big publishers are they take a year to get your book out, which for many of us in today’s world is just too long to wait. The second thing is unless they are giving you a lot of money up front in terms of in advance and royalties, they don’t care about you. You’re going to care more about you, the other disadvantage of course is that you’re going to get like 10% royalty if you’re lucky and that’s going to get paid six months or a year afterwards over and above anything you might of gotten for the advance. And then you give up complete control of your book, you really are. I sold the book to a major New York publisher and then my editor decided to become a forest ranger in Montana.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You cannot sign with a publisher for like one year or five years control and then you take it back?
John Kremer: Yes, they finally gave me the rights back to that book but I had originally self published that book and I sold about 10,000 copies in six months. They sold 10,000 copies in about six years. So I should have kept it, I would’ve made more money.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how about the people who get publishers but not the big five or Big Ten publishers, should they sell published you advise them if they have a choice, like they have a publisher but he’s not big and because they are new authors, they can self publish, what would you choose?
John Kremer: It depends on the publisher and how excited they are, for example there are some good midsize publishers in the US, people like sourcebooks, hay House, New World Library that if they came to me and wanted to publish one of my books, I probably say yes because I know they are good publishers and I know they’ll do a good job if they really want to. But I’d probably still look for ways to build an additional product onto that book so I have something to sell going beyond the book so that no matter what they do and no matter how much they screw up I’m still going to have a product to sell.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So use them for the book and use say another course that you sell on your site from the people that they will come to your site.
John Kremer: Yes. And that’s fairly easy to do in today’s world if you’ve got a good book, you’ve got good content, it’s easy to take that content and put it into a video course or into some sort of membership site or into a live workshop. The way that I took 1001 ways to market your books and took it to something bigger is that I used to do live seminars that I would charge anywhere from $1000-$10,000 for.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you recommend any service or person that turns books into products? Or do you do it yourself usually?
John Kremer: I do it myself, it’s so easy in today’s world to make the videos that you would need to do and whatever else you needed. The best kind of product I think to make in today’s world is a good video product and I don’t know what you plan to do with this interview but it’s a core, it becomes a basis for a product. You’ve been interviewing a number of different people, you will have a product to sell at the end. And you’ll probably have created the relationship with a lot of potential JV partners to sell that product at a good price to a lot of people.
John Kremer: So what’s open publishing, open horizons publishing, how does it work when you work with authors to publish their books? How much royalty…?
John Kremer: I don’t.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You don’t.
John Kremer: Open horizons is my company to publish me and to publish me as a publisher, I don’t think of myself as a self publisher. I look for the best books to publish and they just happen to be written by me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You recommended some midsize publishers, how about publishers for e-books or audiobooks, do you recommend anyone or distributors?
John Kremer: Well I mean if you’re going to publish any book you might as well do it yourself. You can publish directed Kindle, that’s really easy to set up and do, you can do it in about 20 minutes. Then if you want to you can use services like smash words or book baby or Ingram spark to distribute that e-book into other kinds of platforms. And then if you wanted to do a print book at the same time you could do that through again Ingram spark or I think book baby now has print on demand and there’s create space, it’s owned by Amazon. Most of them are very low-cost, the thing is you go with any of those services, don’t buy their marketing programs. That’s where they make their money, they charge 1000 to $3000-$5000 for marketing programs that don’t do anything. I’m embarrassed when I see what they promise people in their marketing programs and how poorly those marketing programs perform for the authors that pay that money. To me it’s money thrown down the drain, it’s much better for you to find people that actually know what they are doing to market if you are going to hire someone to do it because you don’t have the time.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to plan the right giveaway campaign on Amazon and he recommended before selling it for a certain price on Amazon? Do you recommend to distribute it for free?
John Kremer: I think giving it away for free is a good thing to do, it’s a great strategy, it helps to get the book out there, gets the word-of-mouth going which is – word-of-mouth sells 80% of all books sold in the US anyway. Somebody tell somebody else you need to buy this book, word-of-mouth really does matter in the online is just as important as a person-to-person. People buy books because they are recommended by their friends. So get your book into some people’s hands so that you can start to get that word-of-mouth going. So doing the Kindle select program and giving away your book for two or three days, I think it’s a good strategy. If you’re unknown. If you have a really strong platform but don’t give it away, start selling it right away because you already got people hungry to buy the book.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to get the Amazon number one? I see like most self published or even published they go by their own books to get like number one to say that we are a best-selling author. They get the best selling author’s title.
John Kremer: Yes, most of the people that are doing that nowadays are not buying it themselves, asking friends and partners to do that. But unless a book is actually in the top 10 of all of Amazon, I don’t think of it as an Amazon bestseller. So I don’t like it when somebody says well I’m a bestseller because I had number two in some sub sub category, which means that you sold 50 books. This not a bestseller, I don’t care what you say, it’s okay, I know people who are doing it and it certainly has some credibility among certain people, it has no credibility to me because I know the people that actually are best sellers on Amazon and they – Amazon tells me who they are.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So it has to be a bestseller in the business category which is a main category, then you consider it a bestseller?
John Kremer: I might in that case. I like the top 10 or top 100 and all of Amazon, no matter what the category. I think that’s the best criteria for a bestseller, but if you want to take a really strong category like business or cookbooks and say your number one on Amazon or number two, that’s fine with me but when you get into those sub subcategories where basically you just pick a category that you know has no competition and if you sell two books you’ll be a bestseller. Literally I’ve seen people claim they are bestseller on Amazon having sold fewer than 20 books.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Well the use it for marketing purposes, like put it on Facebook.
John Kremer: I know, but the thing is the credibility isn’t there. The people that really know how Amazon works and how Amazon bestseller campaigns work know that it’s false, it’s fake. Back about 10 years ago, there were people doing Amazon bestseller campaigns where they were aiming to be number one or number two in all of Amazon.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How many books required to be sold?
John Kremer: They would sell four through 10,000, I know somebody who sold 20,000 copies to a campaign like that. Now that’s a bestseller, they sold those copies in one or two days, that to me is a bestseller. And if the person that sold 4000, Mark Joyner, you might know him, he’s an Internet marketer, he sold 4000 copies again in less than a day and hit number one and number two on all of Amazon. So it depends on when you’re measuring it, how many copies you have to sell but it somewhere probably between four and 10,000 copies to hit number one on Amazon for at least some period of time.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Even if you give it away for free on that day will it calculate that you are bestseller or only if it sold for money? How do you plan that, should you give it for free for a while and then set a launch date or how does it work?
John Kremer: I don’t think that Amazon – I might be wrong on this but I don’t think Amazon counts giveaway copies in their bestseller ranking, at least not the top 100 or 1000 books in all of Amazon. But what that does do for you in terms of giving away the book is it increases your visibility in the category, so if somebody is looking for books on business subcategory salesmanship and you’ve given away 1000 copies, that’s going to help increase your visibility in that category. So that when you do sell it, more people will find it. So that’s the main reason why you give the book away is to increase the visibility of your book on Amazon with the algorithms that Amazon uses to place books in different categories. And I think most of us know that if you are searching for salesmanship books or something like that, you’re going to buy one of the first 10 books you see, you’re going to go to number 99. So that’s why you have to have that visibility.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to hit the New York Times bestseller list and how many books is required to sell it and can self publishers, self published books hit the New York Times or only published books?
John Kremer: No, I actually have chronicled a number of different books that have made it to the New York Times bestseller list with self published books, including a children’s book that outsold Harry Potter at the time and Harry Potter was still selling. It hit number one in children’s books, it was actually a book published by a friend of mine, I’m going blank on the title right now. There are a lot of self published books that have had the New York Times list over time sometimes it was because they did a good lunch strategy, other times because of some other factor, but the thing is with New York Times bestsellers, you’ve got to have bookstore distribution and sell books through the bookstores or you’ll never had the New York Times list. Because New York Times does count Amazon sales but they discount those sales, if all your sales after Amazon, they are not going to count all those Amazon sales when there’s another book that selling as many copies or even less through the bookstores that New York Times surveys to find out what books are selling well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How does the survey work, how many copies to the need within a day or within a week and how should it be distributed over the bookstores?
John Kremer: It’s measured – New York Times measures sales by the week. I believe it’s from – I can’t remember now, I think it’s from Friday to Friday but it might be Saturday to Saturday. And they are looking for sales in the outlets that they actually survey. And they don’t survey every bookstore in the country, they survey about 100 or 200 bookstores in the country plus the top Internet retailers and the top wholesalers. And then they use their own algorithm to decide what the value is for each bookstore sale. For example they value the books that are sold in East Coast bookstores more valuable than books sold in Oklahoma or Colorado or Texas. They also value the books that are sold on the West Coast more than the books that are sold in Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan or something like that. So they actually sort of manipulate the numbers in a real way to pick out the books that they really want to be bestsellers, the New York Times bestseller list in some ways is a work of fiction.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So they change all the time, you don’t know exactly how they do it. I know some services that some authors pay them $50,000, $30,000 and they make them hit the New York Times, they buy for them the books in different places and they make them hit the list.
John Kremer: Right, but the minute New York Times finds out that anyone is doing that kind of activity, that book is gone.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you don’t recommend that?
John Kremer: And that author is gone. They will never see the New York Times list again. I did something like that when with Deepak Chopra’s first book, they came to me and I told them here, you need to have people buy a lot of books in these particular bookstores and so we channeled something like 10,000 copies spot in these particular bookstores but identified and his book at the New York Times bestseller list.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Okay.
John Kremer: But we actually had individuals buying the books, there were 10,000 individuals buying the books, we just channeled those sales through bookstores that I knew were reporting to the New York Times list.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Which top five stores do you think are the most important stores?
John Kremer: Well…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Or is it still changing?
John Kremer: It changes some but if you hit the top three or four good bookstores in New York City, politics and prose in Washington DC, tattered cover in Denver, some of the good bookstores on the West Coast, you’ll be pretty well off with that. So it’s not that hard to identify what some of the key bookstores are that would make a difference and we actually went to five different bookstores, we actually channeled those 10,000 orders into five different bookstores. I don’t remember which ones they were now at this time because that was again 15 or 20 years ago.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How does the Wall Street must work and which one is more important, the New York Times or the Wall Street? Best-selling was?
John Kremer: Wall Street is really important for books, business books but it’s not of any value for fiction or something like that. The New York Times list is the more important list because when bookstores feature best-selling books in the front of their store, it’s always the New York Times best-selling books. It’s not somebody else’s list.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Even business? So in business even New York Times is more important?
John Kremer: Yes, for that particular reason. Because of how the store is using the New York Times list they feel like that is the best list out there, and it probably is, but boy it really is a work of fiction.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So Wall Street also they have certain algorithms that they change all the time based on the bookstores or a survey or how it works?
John Kremer: I think the Wall Street Journal basically just uses sales in certain outlets, I don’t know which ones they actually measure, but they are going to go to, there’s a bookseller that sells by phone, 800 CEO read which is very influential when it comes to business books, and I know that the business week, Bloomberg BusinessWeek bestseller list and I’m pretty sure the Wall Street bestseller list relies on that as much as sales and bookstores.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the book marketing network?
John Kremer: The book marketing network is a network that I created that now has almost 10000 members or 9000, somewhere in there. And it’s just designed for authors to work together to sell books, each other’s books. The reality is…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So it’s like a forum?
John Kremer: It’s a social network, it has forms there, it has a blogging capability, video sharing capability, it has lots of different capabilities but quite honestly some authors are using it pretty well, but most authors come in, create a profile and I never see them again.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how can they register or sign up, it’s free, it’s a membership?
John Kremer: It’s free to sign up, I have to approve you because if you leave an open membership then you get so many spammers coming in, it destroys the network. So I have to approve every fight and make sure there are actually authors and not fancy ladies looking for a nice guy to marry, things like that. And I get that all the time, I get spammers trying to get in the network but I can recognize and decline membership. If I didn’t do that the membership would be much larger but it wouldn’t be useful at all. I’m sort of disappointed that more authors don’t work with each other to sell books, like if I were a fantasy author, the first thing I would do is make good friends with like 10 other or 20 other fantasy authors and make a pact that every time I promote my book, I also promote their books and do something like that because one author working by themselves can only reach so many people and only do so much stuff, but if there are 10 authors promoting each other, you could really expand your audience and expand the people that would find out about your book. And the thing is, if you like – if I write fantasy novels and I find five other authors that write books just like mine and I love their books, I’m going to promote the heck out of those books as well, because I know that they will love my book and do the same for me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: The problem is that marketing or promoting a book is getting more complicated and more easier with the technology because there’s so many things to do, like to think about people to interview, to think about partners, to think about social media, think about Amazon and e-books and audiobooks and is just overwhelming, like regardless how advanced you are, it keeps changing.
John Kremer: Yeah, the thing is you have to focus, you really do. If you’re going to do social networking, pick one or two and work them hard. So if you like doing Facebook, do Facebook, if you like twitter do twitter. I like Pinterest, I have the best results from Pinterest. So that’s the one that I get the most traffic from it really does drive traffic very well. And so I like that one, but I’m hoping to do more with you to because I’m planning to do more with video coming up. It’s something that I’ve been sort of backward on in the sense that I haven’t produced that many videos so far but video marketing is still probably one of the best tools you have out there to market anything, and a need to know – understand that market better and use it more.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So lots of women like you on Pinterest.
John Kremer: What?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It means lots of women liking you on Pinterest because it’s more – women like to use it a lot and even there are some people saying that now InstaGram is taking over Pinterest and it’s going down or is it still doing well for you?
John Kremer: Pinterest is still doing very well and it’s actually better designed than InstaGram for viral re-pinning and so on. I’ve pinned some pins of mine, I have one pin that’s had over 1.5 million re-pins and I pinned it two years ago and it still driving, I just checked on my website, that one image is still driving 125 people to my website now two years after it was originally pinned. And Pinterest – I have about 20 pins that I’ve done that have really driven traffic, so I get to this one website where… I’m getting right now around 700 to 800 people every day to my website, 80% of that coming from Pinterest.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to create a superstar blog tour for authors and why authors should make a blog?
John Kremer: The main reason you should blog is that all the search engines love fresh content and if you’re not blogging, you’re not going to be creating new content for your website. So if you blog once or twice a week you’re going to be creating new content on a regular basis for your website, that means that your search engine visibility and organic people finding you will be enhanced.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is your views on SEO now with all these changes and like back linking and it’s not working as before, only they need fresh content all the time?
John Kremer: I believe you need fresh content and it’s got to be good content, it’s very hard to create good content when you are automating the creation of that content. I’ve seen so many key rations and programs and some of them are very good but they are never as good as somebody handpicking something and recommending it. You just don’t get the same kind of interaction with the search engines or with the people that actually come to your website and I think you need that. I’ve bought a number of those auto cure ration programs but I haven’t used them because I don’t think they do a good enough job.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How should authors design their cover in terms of title, subtitle and do you recommend any designing services for specializing in books?
John Kremer: I do, I actually have a whole listing of them on my website, but cover designers and I recommend a number of them as being really good. The one thing in publishing a book that I generally speaking tell authors not to do is design their own cover. Because you can tell. And even unsophisticated readers can tell the difference between a well designed cover and one that was good enough. And I think that book titles are really important, I think the book titles have to be memorable and I like them to be also brandable so that you on the title, so your website URL can be the title of your book and things like that. And some variation of that. That’s one thing that I do, I help authors come up with a good memorable brandable title. And I actually charge too little for that service, right now I charge $125 which is way too cheap, I’m going to have to increase that price.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Just title and subtitle, you recommend title and subtitle for them?
John Kremer: I help them come up with a title and a subtitle that I believe will help them sell the book. I’ve sat on a lot of panels in different conferences and so on with top book buyers from wholesalers and bookstores in top media people producing top New York shows and I watch them, I see them pick up a book and instantly decide without opening the book whether or not to do anything more with that book. So they are sorting like this, a top TV show is going to get 200 books a day and if you’re lucky they’re going to pick three authors in a week, that means they are going to be picking three books out of 1000 books that week to feature those authors on their show. And those odds are that great but – the first thing those producers are doing is sorting the books out and if they don’t look professional, that book is put into a different pile right away. The second thing is if the book doesn’t have good bookstore distribution, it’s probably going to get pushed to the side. There are exceptions to that, every once in a while a major TV show will take an author who may be just has e-books on Amazon but that’s very rare, they want to promote books that are in bookstores.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how to be featured in the media as an author efficiently?
John Kremer: The key thing with media is they want a good story. If you aren’t famous, they aren’t interested in interviewing you because you’re an author. They are interested in interviewing you because you’ve got a good story to tell, you’ve got good advice to share, you’ve got something that will service their audience and they want to share that. So major TV shows like today show and good morning America like cookbook authors because cookbook authors can come on the show and demonstrate some cooking thing and feed them, they like that. So cookbooks are easy to do. Business books are little bit tougher, so you have to have something unusual, something interesting, you have to have – one of the best ways I think to get on national TV at least in the United States is to tie into a new store that’s already happening. So I don’t know what…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And usually you pitch them through press releases or how to pitch the media?
John Kremer: Press releases or faxes or emails, a lot of media people are email savvy and will do it that way and if you’re following them on twitter you can possibly tweet them a little pitch, but ultimately they are going to decide until they talk to you on the phone. If they like the news release that you send them or the query letter that you send them they will pick up the phone and call you within minutes of seeing what you have to offer. You don’t have to wait, you don’t have to guess if they are interested or not, because if they are they’re going to pick up the phone.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Let me ask you about the editing process, do you recommend authors to use different editors for each of their books or use one editor?
John Kremer: I think it’s fine if you like the editor that you had for the first book used for the next one. I see nothing for that as long as the editor is good. But you need a professional editor, you can’t use your high school a good teacher or even your college English teacher. You certainly can’t use a journalist because their style of writing is different than that of writing a book.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You have a list on your site as well for editors that you recommend, right?
John Kremer: I do. I have a list of editors as well. Over time I’ve created different lists to help people publish more readily, so I have a list of cover designers, a list of editors and ghostwriters and then of course a list of book printers and a list of e-book services. So those are some of the lists that I have there because somebody has got to have the list.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much usually do they charge those services for a book design or even for the editing like per word, depends on like just a project, they quote you one price, on average those services that you recommend…
John Kremer: Editing is usually going to cost you about $1000 for 200 page book. Again it could be a little bit less or more depending on who you hire but if you’re hiring a professional it’s probably going to be at least $1000. A cover designer, a really good one is going to cost you two to $3000 but the neat thing is there are some good services out there now, things even like fiver where you could possibly end up with a good cover as long as you have enough judgment to tell if it’s a good cover or not. And if you are in doubt about whether or not the cover design that you have is good, take it to the local bookstore, a good independent bookstore and ask them to tell you if it’s a good cover. They will be brutally honest with you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: $1000 for 200 pages, is it like one cent per word approximate, because it’s a very low price or is it just editing without any development work for the editor on the book?
John Kremer: I’m talking if they are doing 1000 for 200 page book, they are doing copyediting, not developmental editing. If you want developmental editing which is really working with you to make the book the best it can be, it’s probably going to cost you closer to three to $5000. And I do know ghostwriters that charge $50,000.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Based on their style of writing.
John Kremer: The ghostwriters – almost any best-selling book by a politician has been ghostwritten, almost every best-selling book by a businessman has been ghostwritten. There is some ghostwriter behind it, it doesn’t mean it’s not the politician or businessman’s words, but there’s a ghostwriter that’s shaped it and made it into something actually readable.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What’s your views about the codes and ISBN, how to use them correctly, should you buy your own or use the Amazon one when you are self-publishing and when you’re publishing, what’s your advice on that?
John Kremer: I think that if you are publishing printed books you should have your own ISBN numbers. That you can assign to the book that’s printed. Obviously e-books you don’t assign ISBN’s to, Amazon automatically signs its own code to it if you upload it to Kindle and I think that’s fine. All you want is an identifying code that’s unique to that format of that book. If you’re going to sell that book into a lot of other e-book markets, if they don’t provide you with the clear code, then you’d want to assign and ISBN number to that. But the ISBN number identifies a specific book and a specific format for that book.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How can authors pitch themselves if they are self published to bookstores?
John Kremer: Well the way that I recommend is that if you form a publishing company and act as the publisher and you book your author into bookstores and so on as the publisher. So in many cases what I do is I invented a new name for myself as the publisher or something like that or I had a friend that I could use his name as my vice president of marketing and he said it’s fine to use his name, so he was my vice president of marketing for many years. He never showed up for work.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about book signing? The same thing as a publisher you pitch the bookstore, do you tell them there is an author and we want to do – and book a book signing?
John Kremer: Yeah, I actually never book a book signing, I book a talk where I then sign afterwards.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You gather people.
John Kremer: You have to get people involved, if you aren’t well known, if you are well known, you can just sit there at the table and people will want to come up there and get your autograph, but if you are not well known you’ve got to create a relationship with the people first, so if you can give a 20 minute talk that’s going to make a lot of difference. But I have a friend who self published a number of novels and he goes in to Costco and I believe he does it at Sam’s Club too, will go into those stores and sit down at the table and just engage people as they walk by. And he’s sold up to 200 bucks that way in a day and he has fun, he loves doing it. He’s got a good relationship with the wholesaler, to Cosco. He lives in Alaska during the summer and in Palm Springs California in the winter, so he does…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: He does it talk? How does he engage them?
John Kremer: No, he sits there at the table and as people walk by, he says hey I’m an author of this new book, I hope you’ll take a look at it and I’d be happy to autograph it if you buy it. And he’s a friendly guy, and he loves talking to people so he just engages in that way and a lot of people will buy a book if it’s direct from the author. People like – I met this author and I got his autograph, you know? He actually wrote a novel about Nebraska which is in the middle of the United States and he did a Nebraska tour for 10 days and he sold 700 books in that 10 days. Which is a lot more books than a typical author sells in the year.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Wow. I want to ask you about your one on one as a consultant, how it works, how your courses work, do you take over a certain book and you will be responsible for launching it or marketing it or do you just work as a consultant?
John Kremer: I primarily work as a consultant, I have right now one client that I’m helping with the launch and I’m not ready to take on the second client because I’m not charging him enough. And so it’s hard for me to find the time to do as much as I should for him. So I don’t think I want to take on a second client at this time. Now what I probably should do at some point is hire some young 20-year-olds and teach them what I know and supervise them and charge five or $10,000 a month to launch a book for somebody.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You don’t have like a team online working with you?
John Kremer: I don’t. And I would want – I could probably do it with virtual assistants but I would want to sit down live with them for at least 2 to 3 weeks to train them in the thought process of what to do, what to look for, how to engage your partnership and things like that to launch a book.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Like usually how long does it take when you help an author, how long does it take to launch it or prepare marketing?
John Kremer: What I’m doing with this one author, it six months before the launch.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: 6 months before the launch…
John Kremer: Because I had to start by making his website a lot better so that it was findable, and create social networking profiles for him and then the next step is to start create relationships with potential joint venture partners.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you prepare a forum for him and pitch it by email to those joint venture partners or how do you do it?
John Kremer: I do, but it’s a strategy, you’re really creating a relationship, so part of that is I am as him starting to comments on potential partners, comment on their blog post or something like that so that when I actually pitch them for something, they already will recognize my name because they’ve been interacting with me in the social networks or they’ve been interacting with me on their own blogs or videos or something like that. So that when I come to them they are already ready to do something because they will recognize in this case his name because I’m working under his name.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you comment using his account?
John Kremer: I think it takes about six months to nourish relationships to the point that on that one day or that one week you’ll be able to start actually launching the book using one of the different techniques, superstar blog tours, product launches that Jeff Walker teaches or some other variation of that where you get a lot of people involved in helping you to market your book.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much would you charge your next client for the six months?
John Kremer: How much this one?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: This one or the next one, how much?
John Kremer: This when I’m charging 3000 a month but it’s too low, I really should be charging more. Because it really does take time to nourish and if you’re going to justify spending the time, the 3000 a month is essentially one hour a day for 20 days of my time. And even then it’s cheap because that’s like 150 an hour, but I charge 600 an hour for consulting.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you recommend any book trailer services?
John Kremer: I don’t, I haven’t seen that they really work. I think they can work, I think that if someone really does something interesting it could work, I have seen one or two things, videos that I thought were well done. I think one of the novelists, John Greene I think his name is, he did a nice semi book trailer. Tim Ferris has done a nice book trailer at one point, but most of the book trailers I see are…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Have you worked with Tim Ferris before and who are the most famous authors that you’ve worked with before?
John Kremer: Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Mainly as a consultant?
John Kremer: Yeah, Robert Allen. Consultant or something like that, yes. With Deepak I did the bookstore strategy to get his book on the New York Times bestseller list. With Jack and Mark I didn’t do that much direct work with them, with Robert Allen I did. There’s been other people that I’ve worked with like that, but what I really enjoy most doing is actually consulting with people, helping to give them in one hour the basic strategy of what they should be doing, the top five things they should be doing to market their book. And then let them focus on that. In most cases people shouldn’t be doing more than five things to market their books. One of them might be that they are really trying to get on national TV, that would be one thing, and then you would be pitching a number of different national TV shows and you have to do it in the right way, things like that. You can really ruin credibility with the national TV show very quickly if you don’t do it in the right way.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the other four things that you prefer personally, you would do it for your book?
John Kremer: I think you need to do some sort of Internet launch, I think that that’s important, exactly what format that takes depends on what you’re good at doing. I think that for most authors they need to get out there and do a certain amount of speaking, either l
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