Archive for the ‘Writing a Book?’ Category

How to Grow Your Network and Your Business in 100 Days

Friday, February 17th, 2017

“When growing a business, networking can be an effective part of our marketing and public relations strategy because it can expand our sphere of influence and extend our message to an ever widening group of individuals,” explains Reno Lovison, owner of Reno Lovison Marketing, who introduced the100 DAYS Challenge to Grow Your Network & Your Business:

“I have a networking connection,” Reno says, “who I met several years ago when I first did this challenge. Over the years he has referred me to several companies who have used my video services. These included two very nice pieces of business this past year. This became my inspiration to repeat the challenge because I realized that the concerted effort I put in over four years ago was still paying dividends. So this time I invited a few people to do it with me. I thought I would be happy with ten participants but I ended up with19 including myself.”

The primary goal of the 100 DAY Challenge is for each of us to meet 100 new people in 100 days. This is accomplished through the regular course of business, referrals, as well as attending networking events and other business related functions.  As a group the 19 people involved gather at various business locations every 10 days to check in on each other’s progress, share ideas and strategize. “People need to be challenged in order to move out of their comfort zone.” Reno notes, “If you’re not a little uncomfortable during the process, you may not be as engaged as you should be. When meeting new people it is essential to share contact information, typically a business card. Then have a plan to follow in order to develop new relationships and explore potential opportunities.”

Reno Lovison Marketing provides marketing services including web video production for businesses, authors, and artists. Mr. Lovison is the author of “Turn Your Business Card Into Business” and offers a self-directed online course designed to improve your networking skills.

Isn’t it time to grow your network and see what you can do to grow your business over the next 100 days?


Effective Face-to-Face Networking:

Video for Authors & Book Lovers:

Web Video Marketing:

Whose Words Are They: Quotes, Copyrights & Testimonials

Monday, June 9th, 2014

PR pros, writers, bloggers or marketers frequently “quote” expert sources.  But depending on the context, how the quote is used, and given today’s social media opportunities and issues, it’s time for a legal refresher.

Quotes & Copyright

 “If, when quoting someone in a piece where the subject matter relates to the quote, and the quote is short, factual and attributed to the appropriate source, you should be O.K. because such quotes are usually not protected by Copyright Law or are considered Fair Use,” Andrew Goldstein explains. “If, however, someone is associated with that quote such as Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream,’ then you would need permission to use the quote for commercial purposes under unfair competition laws.”  Andrew Goldstein is an attorney and partner in the law firm of Freeborn & Peters in Chicago.  He advises clients in virtually all aspects of intellectual property and information technology law, including trademark and copyright law and computer, Internet and multimedia law, as well as fair use entertainment, advertising and promotion law.

Copyright Law protects the original author or creator of a copyrightable work (literary, musical or artistic) from unauthorized use.  However, copyright does not protect facts or ideas, only the way in which the ideas have been expressed. And, if the text is in the “public domain” (e.g., older works or government documents), you do not have to consider Copyright issues.

Fair Use and Transformative Purpose

If, when taking the words or text from another source, you “transformed” them, they may also be considered Fair Use.  For example, the Supreme Court held that 2-Live Crew’s rap version of Ray Orbison’s song “Pretty Woman” was a fair use and not copyright infringement because the rap song was transformative since it criticized the norms of what was pretty.

Book, article, speech, song, or blog post…what do “fair use” and “transformative” mean?

  • Fair Use. The Copyright Law generally relies on four guidelines or factors to determine fair use: the purpose and character of the use; nature of the copyrighted work; the amount used related to the total work; and the effect or value on the copyright work. As you might imagine, deciding fair use can be a tough decision.
  • Transformative.  The more “transformative” a work is, the more likely the above factors will favor fair use.  “If you have used a particular source, such as a paragraph from a study, but you are presenting it in a new way,” Andrew explains, “changing the nature of the original use (thus, transforming it by adding new meaning, information or approach), it could become fair use.”

Self-publishers & e-bookers

If you are self-publisher or produce e-books that you write, “you automatically have a copyright when you create the piece, although there are advantages to registering with the U.S. Copyright Office before publication. They include recovering legal fees.” Andrew says. “Do include proper copyright notices, namely:  the symbol © or word “copyright,” author’s name, year of first publication and ‘All rights reserved’.”

Testimonials & Endorsements

What about testimonials and endorsements for your book? “There’s a subtle difference between them,” Andrew says. “Endorsements are usually given by celebrities, well-known authorities on the subject or prominent authors in the field. Testimonials come from readers, consumers or others who have benefited from your book.”  Also, and this applies to testimonials and endorsements for your book or other PR pieces, under the rules of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you must disclose any material connection (i.e., payment, a sample, a prize, etc.) with the person offering the testimonial or endorsement. For more information about the FTC’s new guidelines read “PR Firm Held Liable for Product Reviews it Posted on iTunes”:

Bloggers & Copyrights

Your blog posts are automatically copyrighted (e.g., First Person Public Relations!). This includes a photo the blogger took or an image the bloggers created. “If, however, you want to sue a person for intellectual property infringement, then you must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office,” Andrew adds.

 Whose words are they? Let’s think before we write!

Want Your News Releases to Bring Optimal Results?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

“The press release is not dead. It’s alive and kicking, and it definitely offers ROMI, Return on Marketing Investment.”

To research and formally clarify outcomes and effectiveness of news releases, Business Wire, the media distribution company, collaborated with Rutgers University and SEO-PR in several statistical research studies. Researchers tested the best time to send a release and explored the press release’s potential for increasing and maintaining awareness, generating site visits and leads, improving loyalty, and reaching target consumers and publics. You will find the specifics at “Press Release Measurement: Creating the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) at

“Business Wire helps clients create and target news releases, build media databases, reach stakeholders, and effectively use a variety of multi-media resources including social media,” notes Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager.  While social media, of course, continues to evolve, flourish and engage your current and potential followers, news releases remain a critical dimension of the public relations process. And, as Raschanda notes, “social media requires people to be accepted as a “friend” or “follower”.

In fact, Raschanda says, the changing face of disclosure (complying with Securities and Exchange Commission requirements) for publicly held companies means that when issuing a “formal” news release, they can post it via social media limited disclosure, as well as submit it to appropriate journalists and media…as long as it’s made clear that it’s released on its site and through formal channels.

To achieve optimal results for your release, however, you must know how to create one that will accomplish your goals. Business Wire addresses this in another white paper report, “Press Release Measurement: Creating the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), which you will find at:

“Start with the End in Mind” for your release.  “The press release should be considered ‘the first mover’ document breaking the news.” Thus, it must be compelling in every way, up front and throughout the release. Or, as the report explains, “Content + Context = Impact.”  That means Message and Format, Distribution and Availability, and Measurement by Benchmarks. The report also leads you to “Six Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Press Release,” and “Considerations for Building a Better Online Newsroom.”

These white papers and other resources help you determine what has worked. Business Wire’s Executive Vice President of Media Services and Product Strategy, Laura Sturaitis, attempts to demystify this process, offering an approach that will unify all of your PR efforts “and maximize the return on investment – or ROMI – of your communications program.”

1st Person PR and e-books

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Are you considering an e-book to increase awareness of your business or your expertise?

Many current and aspiring authors find e-books appealing either as an option to traditional publishing or to complement their print books. Before writing and producing an e-book, however, “start by asking yourself if your potential readers or customers are receptive to e-books on your subject?”

Erika Nygaard has worked in educational publishing for more than 10 years and quickly knew  that she “wanted to learn the digital wave.”  As an experienced creative designer who also codes, Erika says that “understanding the technology and working with authors is very gratifying.” 

Do your consumers like e-books?

While the fiction e-book market is flourishing, Erika suggests that nonfiction authors or subject experts should research their target audiences before going digital.  “Are your target consumers reading and buying similar e-books? How much are they willing to pay? Or, do they seem to prefer print books for this subject matter?”  Online research and talking to consumers should offer insights and a sense of direction.

Do you know how to market your e-book?

Writing and putting an e-book up for sale does not guarantee success. If you have self-published a print book, or if you have worked with a traditional publisher, you know that your personal marketing efforts are critical if you are going to achieve its sales potential.  Erika reminds us that “e-book authors must be active marketers and able to reach their readers online as well as in person. You need an entrepreneurial spirit and an online presence that includes a website, all relevant social media sites and a blog. You should also explore other media and subject-related sites that would be receptive to your e-book’s content.”

Which e-publishing approach is right for you?

You have several e-book publishing options, most require at least a nominal fee, and all, of course, present challenging learning curves. So, while you don’t have to submit a book proposal to a publisher hoping it will be accepted, you still must outline the book’s focus and write it (personally or with a ghost) before you can publish. You might also need translations into other languages.

Then, based on your inclinations, available time and budget, you can evaluate your options including handling the technology yourself, or working with automated services, e-publishing companies and consultants.

Are you ready for e-book challenges?

Erika Nygaard works with authors after their books have been written, edited and fact-checked.  “I can convert their print books to e-book formats or go straight to digital to create an author’s book.”  Erika works with an author’s content and graphics so the e-book displays on a Kindle, Nook, electronic device or computer. “Because an e-book is a flowable stream of content, rather than fitting on distinct pages, challenges regularly emerge.” Fortunately, Erika applies her publishing and technology experience to meet them.

E-book technology, formats, file types and proprietary issues continually change and will as you work on your e-book, requiring ongoing flexibility and patience. You might also decide to publish a complementary print version.

 “It’s a real thrill to see an author’s e-book online and ‘for sale’,” Erika says. “One client received three 5-star reviews on Amazon.”

For more information about e-books, check Erika’s LinkedIn profile at and her online portfolio at  

Publicize Your Book Yourself with Great Results

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

You’re writing a book?! Whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or plan to self-publish, you will be involved with the book’s PR. You can, of course, hire a professional PR firm. However, if you do not have a pro budget or simply would like to try, you can successfully do it yourself.

Sandra Beckwith, a national award-winning publicist, author of two publicity books, and online course instructor for “Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz”, has helped many authors handle their own book PR with rewarding results. Sandra offers some important 1st Person PR insights for your next book, and you will find more at her site, BuildBookBuzz.

“Many authors start the public relations process three months before the book’s publication date or while they’re researching the book,” Sandra says. “Authors know the people they have written the book for and they have to identify the gatekeepers who reach their readers. As they connect with the media marketplace, authors are establishing their credibility and building relationships.”

Pre-publication homework includes checking targeted blogs, social media sites, mainstream and trade magazines and other relevant media. Some authors start working on virtual book tours.

“Time your PR efforts so people can buy your book immediately upon publication,” Sandra says. Don’t worry so much about book reviews and their potential to develop or increase sales. While book reviews are helpful, too many authors forget that there are other valuable things they can be doing to generate sales as well. Many books, she notes, won’t be reviewed even when they’re traditionally published.

However, your book can establish you as an expert resource and offer you many opportunities for recognition in all media.

As Sandra explains on her site, “I learned about this the hard way. My publisher didn’t have the staff to take advantage of the publicity potential of my first book, Why Can’t A Man Be More Like A Woman?, so I launched my own on-going campaign and eventually sold out the book.

“I appeared on several national TV talk shows – I even gave holiday shopping advice to actor George Segal (TV’s “Just Shoot Me”) and supervised a Stupid Men Tricks race on “Crook & Chase” on The Nashville Network. I was interviewed by more than 100 radio stations, newspapers and magazines and generated several paid media spokesperson assignments that got my book priceless exposure on the CBS Early Show, in The New York Times, and other key media outlets coast-to-coast.”

You have comparable potential. Depending upon the subject of your book, numerous possibilities for promotion, PR and sales are waiting for you, including virtual book tours, podcasts, guest posts, public speaking, contests, quizzes, surveys, tip sheets, Q&As, news releases, targeted letters to the media, and the book’s website.

Sandra cautions, however, that while there are so many things you can do, the PR process can be overwhelming and you may not know where to begin. “Start with one thing and master it. And, if you are not comfortable with a particular medium or tactic even after giving it your best, then move on to other promotional possibilities and focus on what works for you.” As you publicize your book, “ideas for another book may emerge and you will now have a shorter learning curve.”

Ready for 1st Person PR for your book? Read more at

“You Ought to Write a Book!”

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

You may be an expert on a subject or would like to become one. Whether it’s your personal inclination or someone else’s suggestion, are you ready to write a book?

Jim, Ann and Tom Kepler own Adams Press, a 69-year-old producer of books for small presses and independent authors. Jim is regularly invited to discuss book possibilities with potential authors. His presentation, “You Ought To Write A Book!”, explains how to “Start with a box. End with a book.”  We’ll get to that, but first…

“Most people realize that writing a book is a major time investment,” Jim notes. “If the writing process goes on for too long, the subject can change as new information emerges. This could inspire you or diminish your interest and motivation.”  You must, of course, “consider your writing skills and ability to keep readers engaged to the end because even with nonfiction, you’re still writing a story.”

If you’re confident about the writing process but not sure if you want to take the next step, “you might start by writing an article or launching a blog on your subject,” Jim says. “You’ll see, as you go along, if there’s enough information or potential for a book and whether you remain motivated. If you decide to proceed, you’ll have starting material and a better sense of your focus and market.”

Jim’s 10 steps will help you decide if there’s a book in you:  

“1. Gather information from previously written articles, pick-ups from magazines and newspapers, books, TV, online searches, illustrations—everything you can find.. Freely use photocopies, interviews, and reference sources—anything even vaguely relevant. Throw it all into a cardboard box.

2. Dump everything you’ve accumulated after two or three months or more onto a table and begin sorting it into piles based upon relationships and coherence.

3. Organize individual piles. Look for continuity and holes in logic and development. Gather additional information.

4. Give each pile a title, label the pockets of an accordion with the titles, and stuff each pile of information items into related pockets. These will become your chapters. Begin jotting down major and supporting points and stick each list into the appropriate pocket. Look for bridges and roadblocks. Continue to gather information as it be-comes available.

5. Empty each pocket one by one and winnow the contents, setting aside extraneous or questionable items for later use if needed and adding more information when important content is missing. Refine your notes, look for connections, and begin adding transitions. Ask “What have I missed?”

6. Develop one- to two-page outlines or treatments for each chapter. Don’t say it. Say what you’re going to say.

7. Write an eight- to 12-page overview of what the book will become based upon the content of each chapter treatment.

 8. Begin writing a first draft of one or two chapters by adding narrative, examples, background, transitions, and sidebars.

9. Stop writing at this point if you’re seeking a traditional royalty publisher and use what you have to construct a proposal to submit to an editor or agent.

10. Continue developing first drafts of all chapters if you intend to self-publish. Add front and back matter. Edit and fact check. Engage a trusted professional book editor. Make suggested revisions. Write final draft. Re-edit and proof read. Proceed to production.”

If you’re thinking about writing a book, you will find more information at

Tell Your Story with a Ghostwriter

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Do you have a compelling story to tell but do not have the time to write it? Or, do you offer valuable subject expertise but do not feel comfortable writing books or articles?

Consider a ghostwriter, the professional who can inspire your creativity, research and develop your subject, and help you find your “voice.” Whether your ghostwriter polishes your first draft or works on the whole process through publication, you receive author byline and recognition.  

Jeri Love, ghostwriter, helps clients determine if their idea has book or other writing potential. “Do they have something substantial to say, do they have an expertise, and who is the audience?” Whether it’s a self-help or business book, article series, or personal memoir, Jeri helps authors understand their options and establish realistic goals and opportunities.

As an experienced ghostwriter whose journalism experience includes broadcast and print media, Jeri can objectively evaluate your project and find its appropriate focus, niche, theme and messages. “Through our conversations,” Jeri adds, “I learn more about their word choices, ideas and emotions, and unique expressions that reflect their voice.”

Besides editing an author’s first draft, ghostwriters can start before the first word is written. They can research the subject and marketplace, collaborate with the author to write the book, and work with designers and other production professionals to publish it, through traditional media or as an online download. “It depends on the author’s needs, time frame, availability, goals, and investment in the project,” Jeri notes. If it is realistically developed, “a book is a great calling card and credential for an author.”

Why does Jeri love being a ghostwriter? “It’s like being a midwife, helping to give birth to a new creation, something important that makes a difference and has an impact,” explains the ghost at


Your Voice and Voice Over

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

We’re always telling our story in one way or another. When we do, it’s in our voice, speaking or writing our own words.

Besides contributing to blogs and other social media, thousands of people also create videos to express themselves professionally or personally.

Sometimes they speak for themselves, and sometimes a “voice over” introduces them.

For example, once a book has been written, an author must market it, which often includes a book trailer such as those produced by Reno Lovison, “Our book trailer videos, one minute or less, are narrated by someone other than the author,” Reno explains.

“Using a ‘third person voice’ offers another perspective,” he says. “Like movie trailers, book video trailers are intended to quickly acquaint readers with an author and the content of a book you might like to read.” The narrator in a movie trailer is not the script writer, actor or director. We see scenes or clips as the voice over artist engages us in the movie. “Voice over book trailers are similar,” Reno adds, “and more energetic because someone else discusses the book and lets the author be the author.”

It is understandable that writers or others who are accustomed to speaking for themselves might wonder about a third person voice over. “Wouldn’t it be more authentic with my voice,” one might ask. “After all, I wrote it and now they can hear me discuss it.”

On the other hand, many authors find the voice over approach liberating. The narrator is heard but not seen, and the focus remains on the book’s content and the author’s words, which can lead to potential sales.

Voice over can be an opportunity to introduce another perspective while remaining true to your voice.