Stop beating yourself up about book marketing! Ask Me Anything!

Berlin Malcom
Mar 12, 2018

My name is Berlin Malcom.  I have been a freelance book publicist since 2011. I have an MBA with a focus in marketing and project management. I love books of all genres and help authors get more readers, inexpensive book covers, inexpensive but professional websites, and editing help. I also love helping with branding and image so I am open to any questions you may have about that. Basically, I find affordable ways to help authors spread the word about their latest novel. I know right now that the opportunities are endless. I also know that there are so many options available that it can feel daunting trying to decide which services and social media are the best for you and your goals. I am here to help you make better choices and show you how you can help yourself, even if your publisher is unwilling to help you. I would also like to clear up any myths you might have such as how long it takes to make a livable income.  

I look forward to helping you.

If you are interested in viewing the list of services I provide, you can view my website www.bamliterature.com/

BAM! Literature was founded in 2011 by Berlin Malcom. Berlin has an MBA with a minor in Project Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is very passionate about books and spent the majority of her childhood reading every type of book she could get her hands on while her friends played outside and worried about boys. 

Berlin began this company when she realized how underrepresented authors were. She has made it her mission to get authors the attention, care, and help they need to be successful in this ever growing, changing, and challenging industry. 

BAM! Literature specializes in promoting authors of various fictional and non-fictional genres. Whether you are a new author looking for help or an established author looking for a new beginning, we are here for you.

We are flexible and organized to ensure we meet your needs. Our services are offered individually and in packages: you only pay for the services that will benefit you. We want you to succeed!

mainHero.png

What is the Vibe of this AMA? What is AMA Vibe?

This AMA has finished, no more comments and questions can be posted and votes submitted to those. Check other similar AMAs here or host your own AMA!

Conversation (108)

In three easy steps and under a minute you could be hosting your own AMA. Join our passionate community of AMA hosts and schedule your own AMA today.

Let's get started!

What do you attribute the biggest successes and largest failures in your life to?
Mar 19, 12:55PM EDT0
Is intelligence or wisdom more useful for a writer and why?
Mar 19, 10:33AM EDT0

I want to thank everyone for your wonderful questions! I will continue looking into other AMA campaigns and hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Heather Anderson

Mar 18, 6:14PM EDT0
Where do you think the line is between literary art and not art and why?
Mar 18, 4:04AM EDT0
What about your writing do you hope will have the longest reaching affects on readers?
Mar 17, 9:42PM EDT0

I've had great success with marketing my series of books, but the market has become very saturated. What are your CURRENT tips for standing out and getting more PR/ads for books, especially if we are self published?

Mar 17, 9:36AM EDT0

I know what you mean about over saturation. However, there have always been a lot of books in circulation. Self-publishing has just shown authors what publishing companies used to do for them.

  1. Use social media; it's the least expensive with the farthest reach. I've found the most success with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest.
  2. Request reviews, interviews, and blog posts. There are several reviewer lists available for free online. To find reviewers do a general search for the genre plus “book reviewers”. For example, “romance book reviewers.” I also recommend reading, “The Complete Guide to Book Publicity” by Jodee Blanco.
  3. Talk to your local library and book stores and ask if they will allow you to do a book signing.
  4. Keep writing. Each new book sells the last.
  5. Be grateful for what you currently have.
Last edited @ Mar 17, 8:32PM EDT.
Mar 17, 2:54PM EDT0

Most marketing services expect an author to contribute a fair amount of money upfront and don't make any guarantees about return on investment. Are you, or do you know of, a marketing service that works on a commission, or per-sale basis? This sort of system would permit me peace of mind about the money I am investing in a marketer, rather than leaving me feeling as though I am pouring money down a deep, dark hole! I'm not unwilling to work - in fact, I'll work extremely hard if I know that it does not cost me ahead of time, and both the marketer and I will make money when the books sell. (Will check out your website later - just thought I'd ask you directly. Thanks!)

Mar 16, 6:36PM EDT1

I totally agree.



My inbox gets flooded with so many "marketing" offers. The reality is that marketing only works if the right readership is targeted. And that is difficult to do. Broad marketing to all and sundry is akin to spamming and is ineffective


The advantage of a "payment on results" method would focus the marketeer on going for the right audience. 


I'll checkout the website later too.

Mar 16, 7:18PM EDT0

Think about these questions. Why do I have to pay for your book before I've read it? What if I read it and I don't like it? Don't you think it's fair to let me read your book before I commit to buying?

My response to the questions is, "No." I don't write, but I know it isn't fair that a consumer should be able to read a book before they pay for it because the author has already put a lot of time and hard work into writing it. What if the consumer doesn't read the book for several months? The author would then have to wait for compensation for that time period. However, you are asking me to work for you free until you sell a book. 

Marketing is a service and services need to be paid for just like products. Marketers can't guarantee book sales. Marketers can guarantee to work hard and spend a lot of time building awareness about products or other services. Also, some services, like social media ads, require money upfront and I’m unwilling to pay for that when it isn't my product or service. Marketers build a budget based on what a client needs and can afford. The budget will include things like ads in multiple media outlets so the marketer doesn't receive all of the money they are being paid, they only receive a small percentage.

Agents work on commission because they will be paid by the publishing company once they sell your book. Authors, with most publishing companies, only make a few cents on each book because the publishing company keeps the rest to pay for the money they've put into the book cover, marketing, editing, and other things. A publishing company is gambling on each new author brought in and each new book released, and hopes to make its investment back within a few months. If a book doesn't sell, the publishing company takes a loss and if the author was paid an advance they don't have to pay it back, but the publishing company likely won't accept another book from this author.

I hope this helps shed some light on your questions and concerns. With that said, if you hire a marketing company you should be receiving reports, at least once per month, with what they have done for you and how your money is being spent. If you aren't receiving monthly reports, fire the publicist and either hire a new publicist or do the marketing on your own.

Reviews are one of the most beneficial things for an author and they should always be free. If someone requests payment for a review, politely turn them down and keep looking. There are several reviewer lists available for free online. To find reviewers do a general search for the genre plus “book reviewers”. For example, “romance book reviewers.” I also recommend reading, “The Complete Guide to Book Publicity” by Jodee Blanco.

Mar 17, 1:40AM EDT0

I recently self-published my first children's book, Sammy Goes to Speech. What do you think are the best tips you have for marketing it?

Mar 16, 6:33PM EDT0
  1. Social media 
  2. Reviews, interviews, and blog posts
  3. Talk to your local library and book stores and ask if they will allow you to do a book signing.
  4. Keep writing. Each new book sells the last.
  5. Be grateful for what you currently have.

Facebook allows you to create pages where you can run advertisements for your book. You can choose the target market, how long you want the ad to run, and how far the reach (local, national, etc.). Once this is done, a minimum price is provided and then you can decide if you want to spend more to reach more people. You can run an ad for $23 to $35 and reach a decent number of readers. 

Last edited @ Mar 17, 8:32PM EDT.
Mar 17, 2:43PM EDT0

What aree three tips that you wish someone had told you about the most effective way to market your books?

Mar 16, 6:29PM EDT0

I'm not a writer so I market other people's books. A few tips I can give you are 1) Utilize Google, 2) Online marketing is the least expensive route, 3) Reviews carry more weight with readers than ads, and 4) Be grateful for what you currently have.

Last edited @ Mar 17, 8:33PM EDT.
Mar 17, 2:34PM EDT0
What about writing do you think was ruined because it became popular?
Mar 14, 8:42AM EDT0

Absolutely nothing. We are story tellers by nature and before stories could be recorded, stories were passed down from generation to generation. A book I think you might like is, "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" by Thomas C Foster. In it Thomas discusses how there are only a few stories that have been retold since the beginning of time. 

Last edited @ Mar 16, 10:42PM EDT.
Mar 16, 2:25AM EDT0
What do many people have very strong opinions about, even though they know very little about it?
Mar 14, 5:33AM EDT0

It's been my experience that the less knowledge someone has about any subject the more opinionated they are about it.

Mar 16, 2:20AM EDT0
What is one book you have borrowed and never returned, and why?
Mar 14, 3:43AM EDT0

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub because I moved to another state. I didn't even realize I still had until I unpacked all of my books. Whoops. Lol!

Mar 16, 2:17AM EDT0
What, in your opinion, is the most disgusting sounding word in the English language?
Mar 14, 3:43AM EDT0

Hmmm. I'll probably think of something even more disgusting sounding later but ... I would say congeal or secrete.

Mar 16, 2:06AM EDT0

I'll go to your website for info about the services you offer. My question is what's your guilty pleasure?

Mar 13, 12:04PM EDT0

Lol! This is a loaded question ;-)

My guilty pleasure is to go downtown two to three times per year, buy coffee or hot chocolate, and smoke a couple of cigarettes.

Mar 15, 9:12PM EDT0

Given the time social media promotion takes, do you have any advice for debut authors on how to best utilize or maximize their social media platforms to promote their books and their brand? 

Mar 12, 8:44PM EDT0

I recommend using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest because I have seen authors receive the most benefits on these platforms. Facebook and Twitter also have some very affordable promotional tools as well such as creating pages where authors can create advertisements for their book and choose how long they want it to run, the target market, and how far the reach (national). Once this is done a minimum price is provided and then the author can decide if they want to spend more to reach more people. On Facebook authors can run an ad for $23 to $35 and reach a decent number of readers.

Mar 15, 9:10PM EDT0
What type of involvement do you require from the author during the campaign of their book?
Mar 12, 5:24PM EDT0

For a simple campaign an author has to be available for interviews and questions that I have. This requires about six to ten hours of an author's time each week and continues for one to three months.

For a heavy campaign, one that has bookings outside of an author's state, an author has to be very dedicated and has to be available for three to four months to promote their book on the road.

Mar 15, 8:59PM EDT0
Show all 3 replies
Who are some of the individuals that will be involved in a campaign and how vital are their roles to the successful marketing of a book?
Mar 12, 4:23PM EDT0

The author, manager, and external sources such as an interviewer are all involved in a campaign. The most important individual in relation to the success of a campaign is the author because if they refuse to participate the campaign can't move forward. Everyone's role is vital. Campaigns fall apart without everyone's participation and communication.

Mar 12, 4:31PM EDT0
What are some tips you can share with newbie authors who want to jumpstart their career?
Mar 12, 3:21PM EDT0
  1. Never pay for a guest post, interview, or review (unless it is with Kirkus Reviews). You are doing them as much of a favor as they are doing you.
  2. Look for ways you can stand out among the crowd such as interviewing other authors, donating your time at libraries, creating a radio show, etc.
  3. Always use at least three editors. They don't have to be "professional" editors that you pay money. Relatives and friends make excellent editors, just make sure they know language, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. 
  4. Learn about marketing and business. Being an author has as much to do with marketing and business as it does writing, even if traditionally published. Read “The Complete Guide to Book Publicity” by Jodee Blanco and watch “Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon”.
  5. Build your body of work before you spend a lot of money on marketing. Each book sells the last and it is better to have at least seven books to promote before spending a lot of money to interest readers in your work.
  6. Series sell better than single books.
  7. Be kind to yourself, work hard, and keep writing. Again, each new book sells the ones written and released before.
  8. Be grateful for what you currently have.
Last edited @ Mar 17, 8:34PM EDT.
Mar 12, 4:54PM EDT0
What kind of results are reasonable to expect from the campaign of a first time author and what type of results do you consider to be particularly successful?
Mar 12, 12:08PM EDT0

It really depends on the type of campaign but, on average, I have found that a seven to ten percent return is a reasonable expectation. The results I find particularly successful are twenty percent and higher.

Mar 12, 5:06PM EDT0
How many national bookings have you received in the past six months and what were your methods to establish each campaign’s individual needs?
Mar 12, 11:54AM EDT0

I have booked over 1,000 national bookings for reviews, interviews, and guest posts in the past six months, but I think you are referring to things like CBS, NBC, Fox, etc. I haven't booked anything on any of those networks in the past six months.

For each campaign I create a media kit and in the media kit I put things like the press release, buy links, synopsis, etc. I also add and remove items according to what the individual or company requests.

Mar 15, 8:49PM EDT0
About #MarketingAMA

Welcome to #MarketingAMA, an AMA channel all about marketing, inbound marketing, online marketing, startups, founders, and more.

The #MarketingAMA channel is owned and operated by AMAfeed, LLC.