If you haven't had a chance to read this fascinating book, now is a good time to pick up a copy.
The Lost Town: Bringing Back Trochenbrod by Avrom Bendavid-Val will be FREE in EBook from April 27th through April 30th.
This is an important story to be read, remembered, and passed on. It is a young adult book for readers of all ages. As on reader commented, "it is an incredible, unbelievable, true story . . ."
About the book : Trochenbrod was a bustling commercial center of nearly 6,000 people, all Jews, hidden deep in the forest in Northwest Ukraine. It thrived as a tiny Jewish kingdom unnoticed and unknown to most people, even though it was “the big city” for surrounding Ukrainian and Polish villages. The people of Trochenbrod vanished in the Holocaust, and soon nothing remained of this vibrant 130-year-old town but a mysterious double row of trees and bushes in a clearing in the forest.
Avrom Bendavid-Val makes Trochenbrod’s true story accessible, enjoyable, and memorable for young readers. The Lost Town follows his adventures while uncovering the lost history of the magical place where his father was born and raised. An imagined Trochenbrod was the setting for Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Everything is Illuminated , and the movie by the same name.
Read more about the book and the author's search.
What readers are saying:
"I found this book to be fascinating!! To be able to learn of others affected by the war at that time was unbelievable. I always learned about what I thought by to be 'all of it' but, reading this book opened my eyes to so many others who had to endure and overcome. I will definitely reread this book and my son 'the history buff' will definitely find this book fascinating also!
"The triumph of this book is that the author does manage to rediscover and tell the story of the lost town, and the lost people of that town, through his research and contacts with the few who lived to remember. The triumph here is in remembering. In restoring what evil attempted to obliterate from history and from the hearts and minds of all people. This book bears witness to the worth of human life, human struggle to survive against all odds. With all the horrors it records, the ultimate message is one of hope and redemption. Certainly a worthwhile read!"
"His stories from the former villagers, diaries, and historical events are pulled together marvelously to paint a full picture of not only village life, but the reasons for the decisions that shaped their daily lives."
Joan Scott is a British-born writer. Her literary career began when she penned her first novel at ten, won first prize for an essay on Paris at fifteen, and believed she was a novelist.
When reality set in, and the rent was due, she honed her writing skills with UK advertising agencies. Inspired to succeed in the creative world, she headed for corporate America and dove into international marketing communications. Advanced strategic marketing courses from Harvard’s extension program, led her to develop promotion workshops in eight countries. Paid to travel the world on sampans, helicopters and high-speed trains, she published industrial and tourism articles and focused on completing her first novel, Who is Maxine Ash? It features two flat-mates trying to survive during London's turbulent Swinging Sixties, and how an imposter changes their ordinary lives.
Joan lives near Boston and summers on Block Island, R.I., with her brilliant husband who, as a design engineer, knows that two creative minds need space, that it’s always his turn to do dishes, and never to complain when it’s crunch time to edit early drafts. He is a reluctant star in her future blog book and her star partner.
You can read why relinquishing paper can be devastating to a writer, in her essay THE PAPER ROOM in Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts – editor M.E. Hughes.
She can be contacted at email@example.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.
"Ideas are everywhere in my daily life from snow shoveling, to computer frustrations, bra buying with teenagers, women’s restrooms, bottle caps, and warning labels. Social changes, unrealistic expectations, life and death situations, childhood experiences, news stories, and exploring hope, love, dependency, obsession, and fear, are fuel that fire my creativity."
As a writer of fiction, did you find it harder to write nonfiction?
Not for me, because I wrote nonfiction marketing copy during my corporate life. Once I picked the subject of “paper” for my essay on the topic of “letting go,” I analyzed what it meant to me and ran with it to tell a story to which writers and readers could relate. What I hadn’t realized, or admitted to myself, was that hoarding paper had become an obsession. Everyone else could see it, except for me. Paper became my safety net instead of trusting the computer memory, so my attempt to let go of paper is an ongoing predicament.
Fiction is a much bigger canvas. You have to plot a whole world around an incident or passion for the chosen genre and develop detailed and conflicted characters to show the story you want to tell. I’ve yanked characters back into the novel when they’ve wandered off and dumped a hundred pages of brilliant text, which is hard. You agonize for years over those characters, breathe life into them and become their friend. In my current novel, they are a part of my daily life, to the extent I find myself buying gifts for them which is why it is necessary to switch to nonfiction occasionally!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The luxury of indulging in the craft. As a child, I couldn’t wait to go to bed early every night to create lives for the characters featured on my wallpaper. Those vignettes became my favorite dreams and stories.
Writing is difficult, painful and an emotional journey but so joyful for me there is nothing I prefer more. I am always writing in my head and scribbling on pieces of paper!
For me, the anticipation of writing is like opening a box of decadent treats to discover what is delicious. Releasing the first draft, line-by-line editing, word-by-word changes and finding the perfect word. Then there’s the second draft, revisions and tweaking, and so on until the ultimate satisfaction is that you’ve done the best you can in creating a piece of literary art for yourself with hope of sharing it with others when you are published. If you are not, you have had enormous pleasure on the journey of the craft.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas are everywhere in my daily life from snow shoveling, to computer frustrations, bra buying with teenagers, women’s restrooms, bottle caps, and warning labels. Social changes, unrealistic expectations, life and death situations, childhood experiences, news stories, and exploring hope, love, dependency, obsession, and fear, are fuel that fire my creativity.
What are you working on?
I am currently abandoning my “little darlings” (phrases I love) and cutting chapters to reduce my psychological suspense novel, Who Is Maxine Ash? It has been a long process and I am stuck as it is so hard to let go. Martha Hughes, Maureen Brady and a UK editor have spent hours editing and doctoring the entire manuscript but I need another pair of eyes to reduce it for publication. For light relief, I turn to creating blogs for my blog book.
Other darlings in my life are toddlers to teens who have inspired me to create a non-fiction project for parents, grandparents and child-minders on feeding children’s daily lives with a total creative experience. We Don’t Just Go Places, We Experience Them, is the working title. I mentioned the project at a workshop recently and a new grandmother wanted to know where she could buy the book, now! I have other readers who’ve been patiently waiting in the wings so I am focused on completion before the new grandmother’s two-year-old grandchild goes to college!
What has been the most surprising about learning your craft?
That writing is adaptable, the avenues are endless and the big surprise is that Americans seem to love my subtle British humor. It flavors my novel and my blogs in “When Life Gets in the Way of Writing the Great British Novel.” Whenever I am frustrated or faced with life-threatening situations, and wherever I am (even in an ICU), I put pen to paper and use humor as a release. The test is when strangers tell me “you crease me up” or that I am “hilarious.” That is the best applause for my ears.
Do you think workshops have helped you become a better writer?
Yes, definitely. One writes in a vacuum and even if one belongs to a writing group; workshops bring a fresh perspective when one’s work is reviewed by strangers. I find the exercises, new techniques and feedback are amazing tools for learning, editing and improving my writing. What I love about Martha Hughes and Maureen Brady’s Peripatetic Workshops is the assembled wealth of talent, and that I get to travel with writers from different cultures in pursuit of the craft. What could be better? It makes me feel part of a great supportive network when I escape from the isolation of writing, especially when I am back home and online, and able to keep in contact with the wonderful writer friends I have met.
The questions keep coming up in forums, discussion groups, and conversations with authors:
Quick answer #1: Yes. I think they do.
They’re great for exposure, reaching readers we’d never reach on our own. As part of a larger marketing plan, they keep things moving. (Because, let’s be honest, promoting a book can get kind of tedious and sometimes you hit dead spots when you don’t know what to do next.) Even if they don’t increase sales.
Or gain new reviews.
Quick answer #2 for those who think it isn’t really “indie” unless you do everything yourself and all author services are a scam: Yes. It's worth hiring someone.
While it is possible to set up a tour yourself, if you don’t have the time, the inclination, the street team or the fan base, it’s much easier to turn to people who know what they're doing.
(As I'm writing this there's a new post by Fauzia Burke on Jane Friedman's blog about contacting bloggers on your own with lots of good information. It reminds me that often the bloggers who sign up for tours aren't the ones I might have thought would be interested. Another reason I'm grateful for help.)
Sure, there are way too many author services that don’t deliver and aren’t worth the cost, but I’ve been fortunate to find three book blog tour organizers who not only are worth their fees and deliver what they promise, but also are a pleasure to work with.
[Note: I’m not a relative or an affiliate of any of these, won’t receive a kickback or a discount. I wanted to pass along our experience.]
I also wanted to get some perspective from the organizers. I’m including their answers at length because in the middle of figuring out marketing strategies and quantifying results, it’s nice to be reminded there are people who are in this for the love of books and reading.
Three Worth Trying
1. Our latest tour – Goddess Fish Promotions
We’ve just completed a 12-stop blog tour for Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts edited by M. E. Hughes. This one was a little tricky - the book has contributions from 30 authors.
We wanted to give the authors the most exposure with the least involvement on their part, working within a tight budget. We’ve tried other tours in the past. Some with author interviews, some with only the book title, cover, and blurb. This time, we chose to go with excerpts. Kudos to Marianne and Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions and the 12 bloggers who signed on. Coordinating 12 different excerpts and author bios wasn’t easy.
Was it successful? We think so. The authors who were able to participate enjoyed fielding comments. It’s worth nothing that on the days the authors got involved there were more comments than on the days when they didn’t participate. We sold a few books, but that’s hard to measure since the book was selling well before the tour. And it was Tax Week.
[Note to self: Don’t try selling books the second week of April.]
This particular tour involved a giveaway – a $10 Amazon gift card. More than 850 people signed up. That’s 850 people who now know about the book. Were they all planning to use that gift card to buy Letting Go? Probably not, but you never know.
During the second half of the tour, we lowered the EBook price. We realize now we should have done that from the start. But, to be honest, it didn’t seem to make a difference. (See note about Tax Week.)
We also used Goddess Fish Promotions for two other tours, The Lost Town: Bringing Back Trochenbrod by Avrom Bendavid-Val, and Sunset at Rosalie by Ann L. McLaughlin. Neither got the kind of response Letting Go did, but we got some exposure.
Why Did We Choose Them?
We’d seen them recommended on several sites we trusted. We were intrigued by the name. We liked the choice of tours and the price points - we needed to spend less than $100.00.
We like using tour organizers because they handle the logistics – creating a banner and a header for the book tour, signing up bloggers, posting the schedule.
Even with an excerpt tour, authors still need to do some of the work – supplying materials, in this case that meant 12 different excerpts; bios; social media links. And once the tour starts, they ask that the authors check in at each stop to thank the host.
I’ve read about tours where the hosts forget to post or post late, where the organizers don’t stay involved.
For the three tours Goddess Fish ran for us, the hosts posted on time, the organizers promoted each stop on social media. All in all, it was very well organized.
About Goddess Fish Promotions
Goddess Fish Promotions has been around since 2008. It was started by an author – Marianne Arkins – after she created her own tour. Her partner, Judy Thomas is also an author and worked as an editor for a small press.
Here are their answers to a few questions:
How many bloggers participate?
We have around 400 - 500 tour hosts on our list. Some are very active and hosts tours for us several times a week, others only host a few times a year.
How many tours you run each year?
Last year we ran approximately 700 tours. It varies year to year, but that's probably a decent average :-)
How long does it take to set up a tour?
Getting everything organized varies based on the type of tour selected by the author. The book blasts are easiest because they are all promo or review stops and all run the same day. We require the shortest lead time for those. Next would be Blurb Blitzes and Excerpt tours, followed by the Review Only tour, then the Name Before the Masses and Standard tour or Full Service tour. The more we have to do (and the more the author has to do i.e. complete interviews or guest posts) the longer the tour takes to organize.
Any idea why these bloggers participate?
This would probably be a question better posted to the blogger hosts, but I imagine it's mainly threefold: these hosts love books so want to help authors in any way they can. They can select books that appeal to them for reviewing and get those free of charge. Also, some hosts have advertising or use affiliate links on their site, so the more traffic they receive the more that pays off as well. Mainly, though, I think it's just sheer love of the written word. That trumps the others.
Do you think blog tours work?
I guess it depends on what you're looking for, ultimately. We've had many authors tell us their sales increased a lot, while others received only a small bump in sales or none at all. Obviously, sales are one thing authors desire as a result from the tour, but there are other benefits: exposure to potential readers, building a fan base (we really stress marketing yourself, the author, more than the book - building reader loyalty is a great thing and will lead to more and more sales as you continue to release books), increasing your following on various social media sites, increasing newsletter subscribers and getting reviews. All of these things help you grow as an author. A virtual tour, run properly, can help with all those things.
Mariane and Judy
Promotional needs at an affordable price.
You’re right. I should have asked about the name.
2. Past tours – Pump Up Your Book
Pump Up Your Book is another tour organizer that came highly recommended on several sites. We first approached them with a different kind of challenge – Landfall by Joseph Jablonski was published posthumously. Without being too crass, our question was whether it was possible to do a book tour without the author.
Dorothy Thompson, the founder of Pump Up Your Book, responded immediately and enthusiastically. Yes. We could do reviews and book spotlights, no author involvement required. With more than 800 bloggers on their email list, more than 8000 followers on Twitter and more than 6000 Facebook followers (all genuine), she was sure she could make it work.
And she did. Six of the eleven sites even offered reviews.
Again, the hosts all kept to the schedule and Dorothy stayed involved throughout.
We also used Pump Up Your Book for You Won’t Remember This, Kate Blackwell’s short story collection. This was as close to ideal as it gets. Kate’s a very fine writer; she was willing to answer interview questions and do a few guest blog posts. Kate’s answers and guest posts could make a book on their own. (We reposted one of them here.) And the reviews were thoughtful. (If you’ve seen enough readers struggle with their disappointment that short stories are in fact short, then you know that thoughtful reviews count for a lot.)
About Pump Up Your Book
Dorothy Thompson started Pump Up Your Book in 2007. Since then, they’ve conducted around 3,000 tours. They've won several first-place awards from Preditors and Editors as the best book promotion site.
Dorothy writes a syndicated relationship column for online and print publications including eNotAlone.com, MindBodySpirit Magazine, Singles Café, SinglesStop, Into the Mystic and other New Age publications. She also writes articles for the Eastern Shore News and The Daily Times. Her upcoming book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Soul Mates And Were Not Afraid to Ask, will be released in 2016.
The team includes Tracee Gleichner, vice president, an experienced book marketer and publicist, who also does branding and blog tour coordinating for several publishers. And Kathleen Anderson as tour coordinator.
Like the other tour operators mentioned, they offer a wide range of services, including a review service. And they provide all the marketing materials for the book tours.
Pump Up Your Book
3. Our first tour – Book Partners in Crime Promotions
If you’re lucky enough to have a genre book, something with a definite niche and devoted readers, it’s a whole lot easier to target your audience.
For JP Bloch’s Identity Thief we turned to Book Partners in Crime Promotions. Can’t remember exactly how we found them, but I’m very glad we did. It was our first time trying a book tour and our first time publishing a psychological thriller. They were patient with all our newbie concerns about sharing files and offered good advice on what to do, like being sure we had the book posted on Goodreads. Stuff we know now but didn’t know then.
They put together a media kit, along with everything the hosts would need for a Facebook post, and a teaser based on a short excerpt. And, as you would expect, they lined up hosts who were dealing with the audience we wanted to reach. This one included a giveaway of three books. Wish I’d kept better notes so I’d know how many signed up.
What I do remember is that we were very pleased and so was the author.
About Book Partners In Crime Promotions
Margaret Hughes and Delene Yochum started Book Partners In Crime as a way to help out authors they’d met online.
Here are their answers to a few questions:
How many bloggers participate?
We reach out to over 600 bloggers and reviewers for each tour and participation does vary based upon interests and availability. For tours that don't have a specific number of stops specified, we normally have between 35 - 45 hosts promoting a tour. This can be influenced by the genre as well as what day(s) a tour runs, as well as what kind of following an author may have (those with active street teams will often have many more participants since the street team members will participate.)
How many tours do you run each year?
Last year we ran over 100 tours, ranging from 1-day events (cover reveal, pre-order blitz, release day blitz, sale blitz, book blitz) to multi-day events that lasted from 3 - 5 days (review tours and blog tours.) We also did one event that ran for an entire month.
How long does it take to set up a tour?
We like to spend some time with an author to find out exactly what they are looking for, so it can take a couple days to determine what type of tour and the dates that would work best. Once we have the type of tour and dates set, we can gather all the information we need to set the tour up and start the sign-up process, which usually takes a few days. The time frame may be a bit longer if the author is still finalizing information for their book. Even if an author doesn't have all the information ready, we encourage them to contact us to get on our calendar - and often times we can start sign-ups even if the author doesn't have everything for the book in the final stages. This is especially true for any tour that will offer a review option since time is always a factor for reviewers - the longer the lead time we can give often results in more reviewers for a book. We can start sign-ups and send the review copy out once it is ready to go.
Any idea why these bloggers participate?
I think there are many reasons why bloggers participate in tours but in the end it really just comes down to a love of reading and the desire to help spread the word about great books and authors to as many people as possible. Whether it is a favorite author you want to help succeed or a new author who is just starting and needs help to get noticed, as a blogger our goal is to share our love of reading. The ability to review a book before it releases can also be a bonus. It also means a lot to a blogger when an author interacts with them by commenting on a post or sharing the bloggers links on social media. Since most bloggers are always looking for their next favorite read, signing up for tours allows them to learn about new authors and books they may not have heard about otherwise.
Do you think blog tours work?
To answer whether blog tours work depends on what you expect from a blog tour. Will a blog tour alone help you become a NYT bestselling author? Probably not. But as part of a holistic marketing and promotion plan, a blog tour can help an author get their name in front of an audience that will potentially buy their books - which is the first step in making a sale. There are many strategies authors should use to market and promote their works ranging from sales and promotions to book signings and giveaways, and a blog tour can work nicely in any marketing plan.
Margaret & Delene
Book Partners In Crime Promotions
~Our Passion is Your Book~
Website ~ Facebook
What's great about doing a blog tour for an anthology is that every day a different author and a different essay will be featured. It''s also fitting that this international group of authors will be hosted by an international group of bloggers.
You can follow along here: (the links will only be live on the day indicated)
April 4: Rogue's Angels (Julie Strong)
April 5: Around the World in Books (Roz Kuehn)
April 6: Readeropolis (Emily Tsokos Purtill)
April 7: BooksChatter (Joan Scott)
April 8: Room With Books (Joe Levine)
April 8: The Reading Addict (Martha Ellen Hughes)
April 11: Laura's Interests - review (George P. Farrell)
April 12: It's Raining Books (Marione Malimba Namukuta)
April 13: Natural Bri - review (Elizabeth Wohl)
April 14: Edgar's Books (Nilo T. Alvarez)
April 15: Ali - The Dragon Slayer (Sue Parman)
April 15: Deal Sharing Aunt (Evalyn Lee)
Hope you enjoy it!
News about our courses, our books, our authors, indie publishing, and maybe bacon.