Tag Archives: Put the Heart Back In Your Community

Personal Interpretation, the Kindle Version Released

PI-CoverTen years ago Lisa Brochu and I wrote Personal Interpretation: Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources. National Association for Interpretation (NAI) published it as a printed book after a thorough review and approval by the NAI Board for use as the official text for the Certified Interpretive Guide training program. When it was written, Lisa had not yet come to work for NAI (though she did shortly after). Both of us worked on it at home on our own time, and the manuscript required a publishing contract spelling out the rights of all parties, that was approved and signed by both the NAI president and vice-president for programs at that time, in accordance with the NAI publications policy that regulates any staff involvement with publishing at InterpPress.

More than 10,000 copies have been sold and it has proven to be a useful resource over that period of time, connecting readers with other written resources and NAI’s programs. The book covers the history and theoretical underpinnings of the interpretive approach to communication, as well as providing clear guidance on improving delivery techniques and employing thematic interpretation as a way to accomplish specific objectives.

NAI continues to own the print rights to the book and sells copies of the paperback book through interpnet.com and Amazon.com. The publishing contract allows the authors to retain rights to publishing the book in languages other than English and Spanish and in other formats, including any electronic versions. Currently, NAI has published the book in Spanish and English. Additional translations may soon be available from Heartfelt Publications in Greek, French, and Mandarin as well.

TLT-BaskervilleWe created Heartfelt Publications in 2007 as a way of publishing books in a wide variety of genres. We currently sell fiction and non-fiction titles under that imprint both as print books and Kindle books. The Leopard Tree is our award-winning fiction title published that first year as a print book and later as a Kindle title. In 2011 we released a non-fiction title, Put the HEART Back In Your Community in both formats, print and Kindle. Hard copies of both of those books, along with the Kindle edition of Personal Interpretation, are available on Amazon.com and on our Heartfelt Publications website.

We’re excited about the release of Personal Interpretation as an e-book. Dr. Sam Ham kindly wrote the foreword for this new edition. Sam’s legendary influence on the interpretation profession has been expressed through his 1992 book, Environmental Interpretation, exceptional research articles and keynote addresses over the last three decades. His new book will be available in 2013 and we look forward to that release. In the meantime, we appreciate his introduction to this unique resource that can be read on Kindles, iPads, Heart cover finaliPhones and other e-reader devices.

For students this creates an affordable option at $7.99 for the Kindle version. Many universities use the book as one of several basic textbooks in introductory interpretive courses. Students often prefer a digital resource book, easily accessible on a computer or e-reader.

We expect and hope many will still prefer the printed copy as we’ve been told that this is one of those books people write notes in and highlight extensively. The Kindle edition includes a few different photos and some slight updates in the text, which will eventually show up in the printed version when the third edition is printed by NAI, but is not substantially different than the currently available second edition print copy. We hope you will also want an electronic version of the book on your Kindle or iPad to make carrying it with you even easier.

– Tim Merriman

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Filed under FREE Ebooks, Readers, Reviews, Self-publish, The Leopard Tree

Stalking 5.0 Star Reviews (Honestly)

We wrote The Leopard Tree in 2007 and won two awards with it in 2008, but it languished with poor sales for the next five years. We both had demanding jobs with little spare time for promotion, so we took the “message in a bottle” approach to promotion. Throw it out there for sale on Amazon and wait for the flood of buyers. Unfortunately, that approach simply does not work. Whether your book represents the Great American Novel or just a weekend project, you still have to promote it to get it into the hands of readers. Getting great reviews early on in the process will help. Here are a few tips:

  1. Get draft reviews before you self-publish your book. Share it with friends who will give you an honest opinion – then LISTEN. When they tell you it didn’t hold their attention or had vague characters, figure out how to make it better and go back to work. Only put out your very best work.
  2. Hire a professional book doctor or editor who will be brutally honest in telling you what’s right and wrong with your book. LISTEN. Make changes and pass the book around again until both friends and professional editors tell you it is good. Not everyone will agree on every detail, but listening to comments and acting on those that make sense will only make you a better writer.
  3. Enter contests – We won $1000 for The Leopard Tree when it won Best Young Adult Novel in 2008 in the Writer’s Digest Self-published contest. Some contests include a professional review as part of the award. Ours earned a Midwest Book Review. Also, you can pull excerpts out of the judge’s comments, which will be very useful in promotions.
  4. Give a free copy of your book to friends and acquaintances who express a bit of interest and ask them to read it and review it. Do not tell them to “review it if you like it.” Ask for honest feedback. If you don’t have the confidence to do this, your book may not be ready for publication and it likely will not sell.
  5. Remind people who tell you they have read your book to post a review on Amazon. Some will immediately agree and some will not be comfortable doing that. If they say they will, REMIND. People get busy, and may forget to get this done without the gentle reminders.
  6. Ask other authors who write in your genre to review your book and offer to review their book in return. Local publishing associations are a great place to find people who are willing to participate in a reciprocal reading/review strategy. You each have an opportunity to learn more about each other, writing and reviewing.
  7. Read every review that goes up, and don’t forget to thank reviewers publicly in your Blog and on your book’s Facebook page.
  8. Encourage people to post a recommendation for the book or a few words from their review on their own Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Leopard Tree only had half a dozen reviews after five years on Amazon until we got serious about promoting it. It went from 10 5.0 Star reviews in May of this year to 38  5.0 Star Reviews this past week. Twenty-five thousand readers who downloaded it for FREE are now leaving unsolicited comments on Amazon and Facebook. Thankfully, their comments have been very supportive and positive and sales are growing..

We had 11 – 5.0 Star Reviews on our non-fiction book, Put the HEART Back In Your Community, in less than a year and went from one review to eleven in less than two months. We could have done better but simply did not work at it. Now we know we have to work at it and are learning how to do that more effectively. It is a niche market book about community planning so we were not disappointed with 1,400 downloads during three free days.

As an author, if you are involved in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program with Amazon, you get five days every 90 days to promote your book by allowing a free download. By getting it in more readers’ hands, even though they haven’t paid for the pleasure, you are creating opportunities to get more reviews.

Reviews certainly help you sell your book, but they also energize you as a writer. When you begin getting reviews from people you don’t know and may never meet, and they clearly understand what you attempted to get across, there is no better reward. At their worst, reviews provide needed feedback. But at their best, they are rocket fuel.

– Tim Merriman and Lisa Brochu

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Filed under FREE Ebooks, Reviews, Self-publish, Writers