I am thrilled to introduce you all to Doris Heilmann, author and publisher at 111 Publishing. Doris is the ‘woman behind the curtain’ at Savvybookwriters.com. Many of you who like to stay current with what’s happening in the publishing world may be familiar with Doris and her most informative website where she contributes myriad of articles on current events in marketing for authors.
Doris is a freelance writer, writing coach and author of several books on book marketing. I recently wrote a book review on another book of hers, a most informative guide for writers, Book Marketing on a Shoestring, and today we’re going to get to know a little more about Doris and her latest book, 111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews, as well as learn more about Amazon and reading and writing reviews.
Doris-Maria Heilmann has more than 30 years experience in writing, (German and English) publishing and book marketing (read also: http://about.me/ebookPR). Writing essays was what she liked most in school: “A chocolate bar was the first prize in an essay writing contest that I won when I was in grade 4 back in Europe. This was 50 years ago and I barely remember the exact topic, but it had something to do with fire, as I received the prize from a huge guy in full firefighter regalia.”
Doris started her writing and teaching career in the field of commercial aviation and pilot training. She published not only several books, but also her own flight and travel magazine “USA BY AIR”, which was a great success.
Magazine and Book Publisher
She learned a lot in this role during these years as a magazine publisher-editor-art-director-marketing-manager and later started also to self-publish (in German-speaking countries), mostly technical and non-fiction books in the world of aviation.
E-Publishing and Book Marketing
At Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada, she studied e-publishing and marketing, including web and graphic design, professional photography, writing for the web, editing, investigative journalism, social media and e-marketing. As publishing evolves at a fast pace, Doris studies constantly the digital and print publishing market, and writes about news in these fields.
Seminars / Workshops / Public Speaking
Her seminars and workshops (on- and offline, see: http://111Publishing.com/seminars) and her consulting service cover among others: Publishing strategies, publishing contracts, print and digital production, pre-publishing, book design, establishing an author platform and brand, book marketing and promotional campaigns, social media as well as book and e-book distribution.
111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews provides authors with more than 1,200 direct links to book bloggers and reviewers – clickable links to each website! This valuable guide book by Doris-Maria Heilmann provides authors on almost 200 pages with all aspects of finding, following, and networking with reviewers and influential bloggers.
Many important steps, such as researching which genre book reviewers prefer and how to connect with them, or how to get media reviews will help you successfully market your books. How to prepare professional ARC’s (advance review copies) in order to get reviews before your book’s launch, is described in detail.
Dozens of other valuable insider information, such as how to get endorsements for a nonfiction book, how to leverage your reviews, how to deal with negative book reviews, why join reader communities and plan book blog tours – including tips from bestselling authors and the publishing industry will help you to get lots of free book reviews.
Welcome Doris, it’s a treat to have you here today to share some of your expert marketing knowledge with us and give us some insight about your latest book.
You are a walking wealth of publishing information. Please tell us what types of articles we can expect to find on your website, savvybookwriters.com?
There are actually two websites with this name: SavvyBookWriters.com/blog and the “old” one SavvyBookWriters.Wordpress.com as well as one, which is not entirely about publishing Content-on-Demand.blogspot.ca, but more about books worth reading.
I like to write in my blogs about everything books, publishing and book promotion, as well as the traps in publishing, authors need to avoid. Most of my advice is on how to use one’s writing skills to promote books: writing not only books, but also shorter works – and to cross-promote.
Another of my favored blog topics is how to leverage everything you write and to make money with writing (other than books), which is the title of an upcoming at Amazon – again with lots of direct links.
Furthermore: advice on pre-publication steps for ebooks, audio and print books, distribution providers, selling from an author’s website, and how to get titles into libraries or bookstores are covered in many useful articles.
Social media and all aspects around it, such as how to connect your social media accounts, as well as how to get funding, grants, fellowships and free writers retreats, even free photos, music and other goodies can be found on the blog posts.
What inspired you to go from aviation magazine writing to becoming an author of all things publishing?
I was a commercial pilot and flight instructor in Europe, and wrote for several aviation magazines. The largest of them was acquired by one of the big five publishers, and the first thing they did, was to shorten the revenue payments for all freelancers. So, I decided to publish my own magazine instead of writing “for peanuts”. It was a mixture of aviation training articles, aviation news and leisure travel with small airplanes in North America. Most subscribers and magazine retailers were in Europe. I also took an assignment to write a flight simulator instruction manual (later sold to Microsoft).
As I was overwhelmed with questions from pilots how to manage flight training and to become an airline pilot, I wrote a book (in German language) about the “Dream Job Pilot?” – which is now in its fourth edition and will be available as an ebook next month on Amazon. I also wrote a book about “Seaplane Flying” and “Flying Communities”.
Due to better book sales channels and a targeted readership, I decided to start my own publishing company and to invest in the cost of large print runs. I also had the experience of magazine publishing and print promotion, so it turned out very successful.
With the advent of ebooks and moving in 2001 to North America, I needed to learn more: I went back to college for two years to learn about e-publishing, investigative journalism, photography, web design and graphic, improved my English (which is still not perfect), and since then I am constantly studying everything about digital publishing.
When I discovered that many new writers struggled with self-publishing, I used my marketing experience and wrote many useful blog articles (almost 2,000 in the meantime) about all aspects of the publishing process and book marketing. My local library asked me if I could not offer a workshop for writers, which I happily did. From there I facilitated many more – from the north of Canada to Southern Florida and on the West Coast, as well as consultation via Skype and one-on-one in-person.
I am right now about to publish the fifth how-to guide book (and work hard on the sixth) about topics that are helpful and interesting for writers.
How do you manage to do research, write so many informative articles, conduct seminars, and publish books?
As older you get as more time you have : ) and I do not waste time watching TV… For me, all work I do is at the same time my full-time hobby and I like to read, write and talk about everything books and publishing. I am in the lucky position to get up in the morning and can’t wait to hit my computer desk. For the future I would like to travel more overseas and write travelogues, becoming a full-time traveler and “blogging from paradise”.
I know you’re also a great advocate for authors. You wrote an article not too long ago – titled ‘Amazon USA vs the Rest of the World’. What’s your feeling about Amazon getting on board with fair practice – to even the playing field for all authors in all the countries they distribute to?
Amazon became big with the www – the worldwide web. But in many regards they are acting like a mom-and-pop store. Not seeing trade as a global benefit. What they don’t realize is that they shoot themselves in the foot: If book reviews would be added universally to all Amazon platforms and for example, readers in the UK could see a review from a US or Canadian reader, sales of this book in other countries would improve – making more money for Amazon.
Some of these fair and smart practices we all wish, are requiring to think and maybe to spend a bit money or employee resources to establish better conditions. I am just mentioning the problem of constantly changing world currencies, which results in accounting problems, and prevents Amazon from accepting gift cards worldwide, as they have splittet their operations in single countries. It would also help if the whole world would have only one currency, such as the dollar.
As books only count for 2% of their business, it needs the concerted effort of many writers and publishers to get them moving. At the moment Amazon seems to focus more on tourism to the moon…
Do you see Amazon offering the same opportunities in the future across the board for authors such as: Kindle countdowns available for everyone, universal gift cards used on any county’s platform, or them creating broader access for reviews to be shared across all country’s platforms in the near future?
I am not overly optimistic. As long as not a huge number of writers are banding together and pestering Amazon, not much will happen. So it depends on each of us to put pressure to the “nationalistic” approach of Amazon, and let them know about their unfair practices, that are in some cases not even comply with trade laws – such as the “gift card issue”. But I invite everyone to use the facts and arguments in my blog article ‘Amazon vs the Rest of the World’ – and write to Amazon by email and even better: in a registered letter.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give authors to begin creating visibility for them and their books?
Write, write, and write even more!
Prequels and sequels for your novel, magazine and newspaper articles, frequent blog articles, short stories or practical advice on Google+ and LinkedIn, guest blogs, uploading of single chapters to Wattpad or Booksie – and certainly more books – all this will deliver visibility to your author platform. Some of these even pay – which means you are paid to promote your books!
Connect with other writers.
Join writer communities at Wattpad, LibraryThings, Goodreads and GooglePlus. Meet-up groups are practically in every large town and city and offer critique groups and writers circles. Find writer friends at workshops and conferences and promote each other! Social media sites usually have writer groups in many genres, such as LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook. There is no shortage on like-minded writers that are all looking for pals. Just say hello!
How long did it take you write 111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews, with all the research involved and create the many links you offer in the book?
Well, it’s the work of at least three years of research, writing, fact-checking, writing, fact-checking… But at some point I had to stop. New reviewers show up all the time and older ones quit if their lives become too busy or for other reasons.
I am continuing to collect new book reviewer links, and readers of 111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews can get periodically new reviewer addresses. There is a link at the end of the book where readers sign up for the free service.
Please keep in mind that some reviewers, when overwhelmed with inquiries often close submissions for a couple of weeks, until they have read through their current lists, and then open for pitches again.
Please tell us a bit about the book and share an excerpt with us.
To sell your books, you need reviews, and to get reviews, you need to sell more books… But where to find reviewers, and how to approach them?
111 Tips to get Free Book Reviews describes the possibilities to connect with reviewers first and network with them on social media in order to establish a positive relationship. Once you are “known” by the reviewer, blogger or media editor for a while, you might ask for a review. The most important advice is to read their former reviews and the submission guidelines carefully before you pitch. After all, they are working for free and promoting your book, and certainly prefer to do it for someone they know – rather than for a total stranger!
Another topic is how to get book reviews by the media and how exactly to approach them. There is also chapter that exposes how trade publishers get reviews for their titles, if it’s worth to pay for trade reviews and which kind of reviews are read by librarians.
How to deal with virtual blog tours, ebook and print giveaways, reader forums and groups, review invitations after the last book chapter, editorial reviews, media and press kits, audio-book reviews, and how to save and leverage your reviews are other important topics in the book.
Equally important are the chapters “How to Get Reviews Before Book Launch” and “How to Avoid Rookie Mistakes” when contacting book bloggers and reviewers. And not to forget: how to write reviews yourself. Authors should not only request reviews from readers, but also write a review after each book they finish!
“In a poll, 70% of book purchasers admitted to buying books after checking the reviews. Surprisingly many did not pay too much attention to 5-star or 1-star reviews, rather more to the number of reviews and the average rating. A 5-star could be from a good friend and 1-star by someone from the competition, right? Check the “history” of the reviewer. How many books has he or she reviewed? Click on the reviewer’s name and go to their Amazon or Goodreads site to find out more.”
“Like many other products on the market, people rely on the recommendations of others when they choose a book to read. In traditional publishing, endorsements by well-known authors and public figures are a key element in marketing. In the self-publishing world, success rests on the number of readers on Goodreads, on Amazon, and on blogs who will give your book a 4 or 5-star review.”
Thanks for having me over to talk with you Debby.
Connect with Doris at any of her many platforms to learn what’s new in the publishing world and keep current with the ever-changing industry.
Visit Doris’ Amazon Author Page to view and purchase all her books.
Follow Me on Social Media!