Gunning Daily News

How to Get Started Marketing a Book

September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

It’s understandable, really. People who have the passion necessary to write a book usually have just one thing on their minds: writing a book. Not marketing a book. Some may think ahead to getting it published, but, tragically, that’s where the planning often ends.

I’m not exaggerating when I say “tragically.” I talk to many people who’ve poured years of effort, money and sacrifice into their books, which wind up sitting in boxes in their garage. They never thought about how they might market their books themselves or budgeted for book promotion services.

When’s the best time to start thinking about marketing a book? Ideally, before you even sit down to begin writing. Because — and I speak from experience here — the first step will help in your writing.

Step 1: Ask yourself, “Who is my audience?”
The answer is the first piece of any marketing plan and it can also help you define what you’ll write. When I decided to write a book about public relations, I had planned to write it for businesses in general. Then I thought, “That’s too broad. Who will my audience really be?”

I decided to write for individual professionals such as doctors, lawyers and financial planners. Not only would that put a face to the people I was writing for, it would also give me the first piece of my marketing plan.

If you want to write a book and you’re a financial planner working for baby boomers chugging toward 65, you might write about planning for retirement after age 50. Another audience might be the boomers’ kids – adults who may be helping their parents. Depending on the expertise you put in the book, you might find other audiences you can target as well.

Here are the next steps to consider in planning your promotional campaign:
• What’s the best way to reach that audience? Where will you find the people you expect will be interested in your book? Will you buy advertising, look for speaking engagements, try to whip up interest from the media? You might hire a publicist or contract with your publisher to handle PR, or put together a promotional tour. You’ll definitely need a website. Will you build one yourself or hire a pro? Research the options that appeal to you and find out how effective they are in terms of meeting your goals. If you’re considering contracting with professionals to help you, get references from people who’ve had successful marketing experiences.
• How much will it cost? Some options are less expensive, others more. Look into the ones that interest you and get an idea of their price. Decide how much you can afford to spend and budget for it. Is there an organization or business that would benefit from sponsoring you? A landscape designer, for instance, might get financial help from a plant nursery or a tools manufacturer in exchange for standing behind a business or product. A chef might find an ally in a food manufacturer.
• Develop a following online. Do you have a database of people already interested in what you have to say? If not, turn to social media and start building it now. The more of a following you have, the more potential audience you’ve created for your marketing message. Big numbers will also turn heads when you try to get speaking engagements or guest spots on radio and TV talk shows. Having a following is everything. The organizations and media that book you for an interview are also hoping all those followers will either buy tickets or stop by their website.

Marketing is too important to be an afterthought, so think about it long before it’s time to get started. Yes, I understand the effort that goes into writing a book. I know it’s hard to think about anything else! But if you have invested your dreams in that baby, you probably want to share it with the world. And that takes planning.

Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself: The 3-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business.

Word of the Day

September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

Title report. A statement of the current condition of title for a parcel of land.

Q: Is It a Good Idea to Buy a Vacation Home as an Investment?

September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

A: Like any investment, it can be risky. Location and current market conditions are extremely important when deciding whether to buy.

Other things to consider:

  • Will you be able to afford repairs, maintenance, insurance, and utilities?
  • What about fees to pay agents who rent the property for you?
  • If you live several miles away from your vacation home, who will clean up between tenants and take an inventory of household items once the tenants leave?
  • What if you are unable to rent your second home? Can your pocketbook withstand the strain of paying the mortgage?

Update Your Bedroom for Fall

September 25, 2012 6:12 pm

Whether you’re tired of your boring bedroom or have recently moved and are taking the opportunity to revamp your style, below are a few ways to restyle your space in a quick, simple and relatively inexpensive way.

1. Start with color. Popular fall colors are traditionally associated with autumn leaves and include deep reds, russets and burgundies, as well as vibrant yellows, pumpkin orange, mochas and browns. Choosing comforters and bedding featuring these colors will help you create a warm look that says "fall" as soon as you walk into the room.
2. Layer it on. Having multiple layers of bedding not only looks more elegant, it also offers you and your guests more flexibility when it comes to customizing for temperature. You can also add warmth and comfort with soft throws -- and be sure to have extras on-hand for overnight guests or particularly chilly nights. Choose the softest sheets for your bed and be sure to have about three sets on hand. That way, you'll have a few on reserve during laundry time or when guests visit.
3. Think pillows. Much more than an accent color, decorative pillows have come into their own as one of the simplest ways to personalize any space and change a home's décor. Many exciting new pillow trends are making their debut, including couture, nubby and boldly-patterned choices.
4. Mix & match. Add warmth and character to your room by mixing and matching textures and patterns. For example, choose throw pillows that look like they came from the same place or era as your bedding, then mix nubby with smooth. To mix patterns, simply repeat the colors in each decorative pillow, while differentiating the pattern's motif or scale.
5. Don't forget the basics. All the decorative bedding in the world won't truly make you comfortable if you don't have the basics covered. Begin by choosing supportive pillows and, of course, a comfortable mattress and bed foundation.

Source: AshleySleep.com.

6 Tips to Prepare Your Boiler for Winter

September 25, 2012 6:12 pm

While the sun is still adding a bit of warmth to these crisp fall days, now is the time of year to make sure your boiler is prepared for winter. To ensure you stay cozy until spring, read the following tips on how to keep your boiler running smoothly and tackle frozen pipes.

1. Regular maintenance
Make sure your boiler is regularly maintained. Some manufacturers recommend that you run your gas boiler at least once a month, even during summer (on a low temperature), to ensure that it works smoothly and that you detect any problems well in advance.
2. Perform spot-checks
You should regularly check the outlets or flues for blockages which may cause congestion and build-up of exhaust gases.
3. Keep your boiler clean and tidy
A layer of dust can be a real problem in causing blockages - make sure that you clean your boiler regularly but never use a dust sheet. Your boiler should never be covered with anything.
4. Fit a carbon monoxide alarm
If your boiler is damaged or faulty, it can leak potentially lethal carbon monoxide which your regular smoke alarm will not detect. Carbon monoxide is invisible and has no smell or taste, so you might not realize it's there.
5. Get a boiler service
Get your boiler serviced and safety checked every year by a professional, in accordance with your manufacturer's guidelines.
6. Avoid frozen pipes
During extremely cold weather periods, if your boiler fails to operate and shuts down completely, it may be a result of a frozen condensate pipe (the pipe which carries condensation from your boiler to your outside drain). It's a good idea to insulate your pipe before the cold weather hits. Below are the steps you need to unfreeze and insulate your pipe:
  • Step 1 - Switch off your boiler and locate the condensate pipe (usually on the external wall directly outside the location of your boiler). Make sure that you can reach the length of the pipe while standing at ground level.
  • Step 2 - Warm some water (not boiling, as this can crack and damage the pipe) and pour the water along the length of the pipe, repeating two or three times if possible.
  • Step 3 - To prevent the pipe from refreezing, wrap it securely with some old towels.
  • Step 4 (for non-frozen pipes) - After you've thawed the pipe, insulate it using foam tubing (available in DIY stores). This comes in a variety of sizes, so measure the pipe's diameter first.

Source: www.HomeServe.com.

Word of the Day

September 25, 2012 6:12 pm

Title insurance. An insurance policy that protects against any losses incurred because of defects in the title not listed in the title report or abstract.

Q: Are Victims Whose Homes Are Damaged by Natural Disasters Granted Any Tax Relief?

September 25, 2012 6:12 pm

A: Damage, destruction, or loss of property from fires, floods, earthquakes and other disasters are deductible from both state and federal income taxes.

If destruction is caused by an event deemed a federal disaster by the president, homeowners can deduct their losses in the tax year before the event happened by filing an amended return. This helps to dramatically cut the wait for tax refund money that can immediately be used to make repairs or pay for living expenses.

Protect Your Pool from Freezing This Winter

September 25, 2012 5:12 pm

Once the creep of autumn makes it a little too cool for your pool, it's time to think about buttoning up your little oasis of aquatic pleasure until next spring. So for a raft of advice that really holds water, I turned to Ann Janowicz, general manager of Kasper’s Pool Supplies and Spas in Easton, Pa.

Janowicz says proper winterizing means more than just covering the pool. The pool must be cleaned, winter chemicals must be added, water chemistry must be balanced, and the water level should be lowered.

Most importantly, she says, winterizing is about freeze protection, and taking steps to protect the pool equipment and lines from being split apart by freezing water. To prevent freeze damage, Janowicz says water must be drained or blown out of all pumping, filtering, heating and chlorinating equipment and other pool plumbing.

This is not always a “do-it-yourself” project. Every pool is different, and each will require specific procedures and equipment to implement those procedures.

Janowicz, a certified pool operator (CPO) and a director of the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) notes that, “If you don’t know the exact procedure or if you do not have the equipment to winterize correctly, you should call a professional. A pool is a big investment.”

She says the right time to winterize varies by climate and individual preference. Many pool owners opt to close in late August or early September before leaves begin to fall, while others heat their water and enjoy swimming into the early autumn season. In general, pool closing and winterizing should be done before the first hard freeze in your area.

For information about pool winterizing, or to find a professional who can close your pool properly, visit the NESPA website at www.nespapool.org, or your regional Spa and Pool Association or certified spa and pool professional.

Kitchen Cleaning: Tackle the Appliances

September 25, 2012 5:12 pm

Even if you aren’t the most dutiful housecleaner (no judgments here!), maintaining a clean kitchen is important. After all, it is where we prepare our food. But even when you know your stove needs a good scrub a dub, cleaning our appliances is a task that often gets put on hold because it requires so much time and effort.

According to the Scrubbing Bubbles Dirty Work Index survey, men and women agree the kitchen is the most difficult room to clean after the bathroom. Luckily, following a few simple steps and using all-purpose kitchen cleaners make tackling tough kitchen messes easier -- ensuring that your home is not only clean but also healthy. Follow the below tips and tricks to learn how to clean your kitchen appliances with ease.

Oven
If your oven boasts a self-cleaning mode, go ahead and turn it on. For the stovetop and exterior of the oven, spray a grease-cutting cleaner that stays where you spray, to thoroughly cover the surfaces, exterior walls and oven door. Allow the cleaner to go to work penetrating and lifting grime while you move on to the microwave. Use damp sponges or paper towels to remove the cleaner when the grease and grime have dissolved.

Microwave

To loosen grease and food spatters, boil a cup of water with a few lemon slices in the microwave for one minute, which will help to soften dried food particles to make cleanup easier. Then, use a foaming all-purpose cleaner and a damp sponge to easily wipe away residue and grease and leave a fresh scent behind.

Dishwasher
Use a toothbrush and warm, soapy water to clean around the rubber seal on the door of your dishwasher. Use a scrubbing brush or sponge to wipe away dirt and grime on the inside of the door, as well as the walls. Wipe away debris around the drain that could cause later clogging. Run your empty dishwasher on the hottest cycle to help further remove buildup.

Fridge
Because the refrigerator houses perishable foods, it's crucial to your family's health to keep it well-maintained and sanitary. Cleaning the refrigerator requires more work than just pitching old food. To ensure your fridge is thoroughly cleaned, turn the dial control to "0" and remove and discard old food items before removing shelves and drawers, then wipe them down using mild soap and water. Next, use a toothpick and toothbrush to clean corners, hinges and the rubber gasket. Finally, sanitize the drop pan with an antibacterial all-purpose cleaner. Cleaning the drop pan weekly will help reduce spilled food odors. After these steps are complete, return the dial control to the original temperature setting.

Sources: www.scrubbingbubbles.com, www.rightathome.com.

5 Ways to Brat-Proof Your Child

September 24, 2012 5:30 pm

A kid in preschool may not care if your child doesn’t say, “excuse me.” He may not even care if she uses her fork like a shovel. But he likely will care if your child keeps all the Legos to himself – or resorts to hitting instead of talking.

“Good manners still matter in today’s society,” says Robin Thompson, founder of etiquette.com. “Once your child is a toddler, it’s time to teach him or her that everyone else has feelings too, and that being polite is a wonderful way to make himself and others feel happier.”

Thompson offers five ways to start:

Lead by example – Children observe their parents’ behavior far more than you realize, and they learn how to act by watching you. Be sure to use, “please” and “thank you” even in your own home, and be on your best behavior when interacting with the neighbor, the postman, or the grocery store clerk.
Eat at the table regularly – Eating at the table instead of the on the couch in front of the TV gives you the chance to encourage your child to place her napkin on her lap, not to talk when her mouth is full, and wipe her mouth when she is finished.
Prompt kids in social situations – Encourage your child to say ‘please’ and thank you,’ to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye,’ to share with others, and to wait his turn.
Be consistent – All caregivers should be aware of the expectations you have set for your child and consistent in enforcing them. Even shy children catch on to what’s expected if everyone is on the same page.
Praise is a good teacher – Be sure to praise him when your child has exhibited good table manners, or behaved politely in a social situation. Praise is the best kind of reinforcement.