Kim Weiss Publishing Services

The Element of Magic

June 13, 2009 at 7:08 am

Ok, so I was daydreaming on my couch about my next post. I went from the proverbial platform chatter to the element of magic.

Although I’ve forewarned you about my predeliction for speaking “platform” I was moved by the grace of a sea hawk flying outside my window. I quickly ran onto my terrace to watch the brown and white speckled bird who kindly made a u turn towards my building.

You see, I’m a bit of a “sign watcher,”  a little superstitious if not down right woo woo! Somewhere along the line I adopted the sea hawk aka osprey as my power bird. The decision was made. Magic, it is.

Where does magic fit into the world of publishing and books, you ask? Why, it fits into the place where you’d expect magic to reside. It’s exactly where you left it the last time you saw it.  Neatly tucked into that place you can’t know, control or define. After all, it’s magic!

Enough of this circular conversation. Here’s how it goes. You develop a concept for a book. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, there will come a time for it to greet the marketplace.

You’ve read all the books, been to all the seminars, learned from the so-called publishing gurus, hired the world’s very best marketeers and publicists.  You’ve left no stone unturned in your quest for a New York Times bestseller. Or at least USA Today. E-blasts, radio satellite tours, reviews, interviews on the news, billboards even.

Like the osprey flying over my apartment building, you throw your bird of a book into the sky. Will it plunge to its messy death fifteen stories down or will it make like a sea hawk and soar?

Here’s the magic part. Readers have to like it. Plain and simple. They have to “vote” for your book by purchasing it for themselves. For their friends and family.This has to happen for it to sell.

Magic, in this case morphs into word of mouth. That single desirable element that everyone wishes they could bottle. All will tell you that you can’t buy it. All are in awe of it. Sure, you can help it along by utilizing the tools of the trade, make it more easily accessible by things like great distribution and exposure largely due to your PLATFORM.

But, in the end, it’s the people who decide. Hence, the real secret, I believe, in the success of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I was there. It was a runaway train. Nothing could stop it. Sure, there were a lot of talented folks behind the scenes. The people embraced it and history was made.

Some might say that the other manifestation of magic begins with the letter “O” but very few titles get to enjoy that opportunity. And, believe it or not, I have seen books mentioned on the magic show that didn’t go very far. Not often. But now and again.

So, if I were to try and advise you on how to attract magic to your work of art (yes, I’m hoping that’s what it is) I would insist that you fill your manuscript with your own magic. Believe in it. GIve it your all. Speak in your true voice. Remember all the “love of writing” stuff I said before. And, if there’s anything to this “like attracts like” thing, you may just have a shot.

Good luck. More on magic, I promise.

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Dark chocolate, chianti, music and a little kaizen, anyone?

November 17, 2008 at 7:36 am

Dark Ghirardelli chocolate, a glass of chianti, and Lucinda Drayton singing in the background, all is well in the world. (If only)  It’s a feast for the senses. Lucinda’s an angel on earth, and even though I have more exotic chocolate preferences, the 60%  cacao squares will do just fine.

It’s the eve of a new work week and the brain reluctantly moves from one side of the skull to the other making ready to make sense. Dollars and cents.

The mind is what I’ll be delving into this week as the promotion cycle begins for a book called, The Vigorous Mind by communications strategist, Ingrid Cummings. I’ll have more to say about it later in the week, but at this early stage, I am delighted and intrigued.

Ingrid will show us in her book how to cross train our brains to become more well-rounded, like those we historically call “Renaissance people.” She employs a technique well-regarded in the workplace in Japan called Kaizen. In fact, the Toyota corporation practices the principles of kaizen, even here in the U.S. Soon we’ll be sharing with the media Ingrid’s take on how General Motors might have had a better shot had they used it.

Stay tuned.

Apparently, our minds can make significant progress with just a simple 20-minute concentration exercise daily.  I don’t know about you, but I’d give 20 minutes to kick start my graying gray matter.

The Vigorous Mind will be released in January just in time for all of you who are making grand resolutions. Perhaps cross training your mind or aspiring to be a contemporary Renaissance man or woman will make your list. In the book business we always say that the beginning of the year is the “new year, new you” season.

I don’t think you’ll lose weight with kaizen, but I could be wrong. You can prepare to trim some of the fat from your brain. Sounds a little gruesome but I’m sure we’re all carrying around some extra fatty mental baggage that we no longer need.

May the kaizen force be with you (and GM)!

And me.

Note: Be one of the first to get a copy of The Vigorous Mind by writing to me. FREE copy to the first 10 people to ask.

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Publicity tip: transform your friends into your marketing team

October 28, 2008 at 6:55 am

Transform your friends into you marketing team? Bring your friends into your business? Personally, I’ve crossed that line once or twice with unhappy results but what I’m going to share with you is different. In this case, nobody will owe anybody anything. Simply, it’s a request to help you make your book a bestseller. Your friends can participate or graciously decline. No hard feelings.

You’ve heard of the infamous “amazon bestseller campaigns.” In the book marketing culture for several years now, it’s about creating a viral marketing effect in a particular time frame designed to stimulate people to buy your book at once. The more elaborate (and expensive) versions include the incentive of premiums, free stuff, to gain if you join in.

My version is less complicated and works best if you have a good size list of friends and colleagues. It’s really not recommended to include unqualified strangers in your campaign. There are spam laws that you don’t want to mess with.

Here’s how it goes. Let’s assume that this event will coincide with the launching of your book (congratulations!). Draft a letter to your audience announcing the birth of your baby book. Tell them about the book and very early in your letter ask them to join you in making it a bestseller. Who wouldn’t want to do that? (I trust you’re not including your enemies on your list)

Ask your friends to consider purchasing your book on amazon on a given day or range of days. The smaller the list, the better it would be to target a single day. Then ask them to do one better. Ask your new virtual marketing team to invite THEIR friends to join in on your behalf. There’s really nothing new here. It’s the classic, “tell two friends, have them tell two friends…”, etc. It’s just now we have our supercharged macs and pc’s to drive our point.

Feel funny ? If you do for a moment, that’s a sign of integrity.  I applaud that moment but I promise, it will pass. In my experience, friends and colleagues really want to help. Most of the time we’re just to afraid to ask. And you know the adage, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” 

Ok, I’m done with little quotes and adages.

The last ingredient you might want to consider is offering some incentive to your friends and to their friends. Perhaps they’d like your autograph on their book. Maybe a paragraph or chapter in your next book (just kidding). Whatever you come up with, do something to make them feel appreciated. You could even hold a “watch my amazon ranking” party at your home or out somewhere. Make it fun. For those of you with huge lists, you lucky people, you might want to come up with some virtual event.

Think of the possibilities. Your viral friends campaign may turn out to have more impact than you’d imagine. And, especially when you time it during the execution of additional marketing tricks. Try to create a confluence (I love that word) of publicity and marketing events around the same time period. The goal being, expose yourself to as many people at once as possible. Sounds racy, doesn’t it? But, I kid you not. 

A lot can happen.

Your friends are still your friends and you have a bestselling book. They feel a part of it and everybody’s happy.

Life is good.

If it were only that simple.

Best wishes and ask me questions if you’re looking for more details You can also ready about this campaign in my posts about Richard Bandler’s book, Get the Life You Want.

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If this is social networking then why are we home alone on our computers?

October 20, 2008 at 6:43 am

Social networking brings to mind something other than sitting solitary at home on my computer. I hear glasses clinking, the din of a crowd, small and not-so-small talk wafting out of the mouths of seemingly respectable people. There’s a jazz trio in the corner, a tip jar on the portable bar and a singer with a smoky voice. Peel n’stick name tags, maybe?

Not a Imac keyboard, a screen full of strangers’ photos, and a littany of inane “what I’m doing now” notices posted every few hours.

Basically, I have the kind of personality defect, which I think stems from being the youngest child, of not wanting to feel left out, of never wanting to miss something. So, like millions of other drones, I hopped onto Facebook and LinkedIn, joined Shelfari with the love of literature as my excuse, and think I’ve even agreed to something called Plaxo. Now, that sounds a little space aged and cold to me… Plax-o?


Is it the number of “friends” you amass or “contacts” as Linkedin likes to call them? Facebook and LinkedIn even link to each other, just in case you feel like your being too social on one and need to strut your business persona on the other. I perpetually post clever enticements to visit my blog in both places which I’m sure is verbotin. Who’s to say what’s “socially acceptable” anyway? Who makes up these rules for this pretend networking world?

If we think of these venues as marketing tools, I’m be all for them. I wonder, though, if they really do anything to increase our visibility or contribute to our businesses. Believe me, I’ll stay on there just to find out.

Once in a while, a name from the past or an obscure cranny of my life will pop up and we’ll have a moment of how great it is to be in touch. That moment usually passes quickly and our estrangements scurry back to their estranged places never to “meet” again.

Not always. But mostly. 

I’m amused by technology. No longer totally mystified by it, above it (hah!) or a slave to it, I question how it replaces real human contact. At work it keeps us in touch in a more immediate way without the strings of personal conversation. Gee, phone calls are such a commitment these days. Hardly anyone deserves THAT kind of time and attention. Sad.

I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water and I do try to balance my verbal human talk with my cyber talk so I will continue to explore these brave new worlds. 

I’m just still a little clueless about how Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo (MySpace anyone?)  enhance our relationships, or even our professional lives. Can anyone tell me? Have you had an experience worth sharing about the benefits of the new online cocktail party? Am I missing something (again)?

Having worked for myself in a little boutique pr agency in Boca, prior to my current publishing position, I’ve been known to say that if I never had to go to another Chamber of Commerce mixer or breakfast networking event, I would be more than content. So, maybe I just don’t like networking, period. (Or is it just the people part?)

That pathetic conclusion may be partially true, but I do hope we keep an eye on the waning qualities and quantities of personal touch and personal connection. Just call almost any business and tell me how the electronic phone answering tree makes you feel? My guess is, not warm and fuzzy.

I am anxious to hear your thoughts and please, some tips!

Gotta go. Have to let my “friends” know what I’m doing now. It’s been a couple of hours.

See ya.

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Bloggers’ block – and a political (non-partisan) plug

October 17, 2008 at 10:01 am

I’ll be back with some brilliant stuff soon.  Hopefully, helpful. Hopefully, amusing. Have a great weekend.

p.s. last minute election-related books for your friends (and enemies)!





Always fair and balanced goodies, brought to you courtesy of HCI!

Choose your political poison:





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