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Insight from J.L. Robb, Author of The End: The Book

Who is J.L. Robb?

J.L. Robb is a husband, father and grandfather. He served four years as a U.S. Navy Corps man during the Vietnam Conflict, graduated with a B.S in Zoology from N.C. State University and is the President of the Duluth Civitan Club. He currently lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

The Book of Revelations was one of the first things J.L. Robb read because it was scary and he liked that. Robb has maintained a thirst for insights concerning the predictions about how the world would one day end, based on the Biblical version of the story.

Robb has had his story inside him since he was young, and he was always hearing the message, “Write a book! Write a book!” Even Robb’s friends kept telling him to write a book, but he waited until he was 63 to do so.

What did J.L. Robb write?

Robb is the author of The End: The Book series. It is an edge-of-the-seat thriller and love story, aimed primarily at the unbeliever. The End: The Book is a seven-book series, and so far Robb has completed two books and is working on the third. The End: The Book is Biblically based and is essentially a story of what will happen when Islamic terrorism meets the Bible Belt.

Why did J.L. Robb publish with WestBow Press?

When looking for a publisher for his book, Robb chose WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson. Throughout the publishing process, WestBow Press did a great job of helping Robb with his first book. WestBow Press made Robb feel comfortable by never tiring of his infinite questions and by being available to answer his questions at any time.

He was so pleased with WestBow Press that he used them for the first two books, and will use it for the rest of the series. He recommends WestBow Press to his friends and family and he even considers WestBow Press to be part of his family.

How does J.L. Robb market and promote his book?

Since J.L. Robb does not have a large publishing company spending thousands of dollars on marketing his book, he needs to come up with cost-effective ways to do it himself. One thing he does is make use of the phenomenon known as social media because it is a great way to reach out to your audience and it’s free. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and Youtube are just a few of the platforms social media provides.

Robb also puts his book’s logo on as many things as possible. He suggests making bookmarks because they are inexpensive and you can leave them all over; he likes to take his to restaurants and leave them on the table. He also has shirts, hats and water bottles with The End: The Book’s logo on it.

When promoting your book at a location, Robb suggests a coffee shop instead of bookstores because bookstores already have several books and it becomes a competition. If you’d prefer to promote at a bookstore, Robb finds that independent bookstores, family-owned bookstores, used bookstores and small Christian stores offer more for a self-published author.


If you are interested in starting your self-publishing journey with WestBow Press, call a WestBow Press representative today at 866.928.1240.

Get the Word Out With Book Reviews

So, you have written, edited and printed your book. Congratulations! You have accomplished quite an achievement and you should be extremely proud. Now you are about to face your greatest challenge yet: convincing your fellow literary lovers that they should read your book.

 It is a noisy world out there: the average person receives thousands of advertising and marketing messages every day. This can make it difficult to communicate that your book is out there and worth reading.

 How do you pique someone’s interest amongst all that noise and distraction? One excellent way to get the word out about your book is through a book review.

A review helps promote your book in numerous ways. First, it conveys to a reader that someone else has already read your book and was impacted by it enough to tell everyone else what they thought. Reviewers often highlight the strongest and catchiest parts of your writing, which can only serve to entice potential readers to read your story. Also, a review is a very real and tangible conversation between readers; one that often creates some buzz.

One thing to keep in mind is that book reviews have changed over the years. No longer confined to print outlets like newspapers and magazines, reviews can be found all over the Internet: on retailer sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble and on online newspapers such as the Huffington Post – there are even entire blog communities completely devoted to book reviews.

So how does an aspiring author get in touch with these outlets? Here are examples of great ways to reach out to these communities:

  • Create a presence on social media; Twitter and Facebook are great places to have an online presence and are perfect for starting conversations, announcing news and perhaps receiving a fan letter or two (or three)!
  • When publishing with WestBow Press, you will have the opportunity to promote your book through the book review program, BookSneeze is a site devoted strictly to book reviews and contains a large community of online reviewers that maintain their own blogs. Once you place your book on the site, bloggers can easily download it, read it and then review it on their blog.   With thousands of participants, much of the blogger outreach process is done for you; all you have to do is wait for the reviews to start showing up!
  • Last but not least, reach out to your family, friends, church, community, etc. The people that you know and trust can be the most powerful word-of-mouth network you can get as an author, and their reviews might be the most helpful.

Now that your book is finished, continue your hard work and get your book out there!  And remember: a review can be important link between you and your readers in this bustling book-reading world.


About Jolene Barto

Jolene has been able to see the publishing industry in all its varied sizes, from editing for a small university press to currently working for the world’s largest Christian publisher. Currently working as Communications Coordinator for Thomas Nelson, Jolene organizes social media campaigns and is a member of the BookSneeze team. She received her degree in Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and her MFA in Creative Writing at Murray State University.


Getting Endorsements and Reviews

One of the top reasons readers purchase a particular book is the book’s endorsements and reviews. Yet many books don’t include a single endorsement on their cover or have a single review on the major online retailers’ sites.

Endorsements and reviews provide confirmation of the book’s quality and remove uncertainty from the transaction. Online reviews also serve as a point of comparison with other similar products and help the reader quickly make their selection from all the available options.

If you want your book to stand out, you must obtain endorsements and reviews. Of the two, reviews are easier to obtain due to the BookSneeze program we offer in partnership with Thomas Nelson. By posting 50 copies of your e-book on BookSneeze, it is available to thousands of bloggers who read and review books.

Your chances of developing word-of-mouth viral marketing increase with each review. Of course there is no guarantee that every review will be positive so the most important element is a good book that is well-edited and professionally designed.

On the other hand, obtaining endorsements can be difficult and time consuming — especially if you don’t use a proven process — but the increased credibility is well worth the effort. Following are four steps to streamline the process.

  1. Create a list of potential endorsers by brainstorming as many people as you can think of as quickly as possible. List both well-known individuals in the field of your book and other people you know personally who are influential in their circles of influence. Don’t worry whether or not you can get the person to endorse your book — just list everybody that comes to mind until you have at least 50 prospects identified.
  2. Obtain three endorsements from people you know well. These are your seed endorsements that you will leverage to obtain other endorsements. People who don’t know you well will be much more likely to consider endorsing your book if they see that others have already done so (see the “First Follower” video from Derek Silvers for an entertaining explanation of this phenomenon). They also are more likely if they know one of the endorsers so ask your first three endorsers for 10 people they know who might consider endorsing your book and add those people to your list.
  3. Ask for an endorsement from each person on your list. Send a brief letter with a sample of your manuscript, a short description, an example of the two- to three-sentence endorsement you are hoping for and a deadline in two weeks. In your letter, offer to send the entire manuscript. Follow up in one week with a phone call if possible.
  4. After you gather all your endorsements, provide them to your publisher to include in the book and on your marketing materials. When your book releases, send a signed copy to each endorser to thank them.

Book to Screen: 3 Tips to Turn Your Book into a Movie

One week from today, on Sept. 24, we’ll be celebrating the 116th birthday of one of America’s greatest authors: F. Scott Fitzgerald. His book, The Great Gatsby, has inspired generations and remained relevant in our pop culture, even 87 years after it was originally published. Throughout those 87 years, it has been adapted into film on four different occasions. And in 2013, we’ll see Jay Gatsby on screen again thanks to director Baz Luhrmann.

That got us thinking. What makes a book like The Great Gatsby so successful on film?

On the Author Learning Center, author, literary manager and Hollywood producer Dr. Ken Atchity led a webinar (one of many that you can attend for free, by the way) that described 10 Rules for Planning Your Novel to Be a Film. Here are just three of his tips:

1.       Keep your characters castable.

“What makes financers and distributors decide to make a film to begin with is the knowledge that they’ll be able to sell that film and people will go see it,” says Atchity.

2.       Set the story in contemporary times.

Due to cost of production, Atchity suggests setting your story in the year 2000 or later. “You open up so many more opportunities for production by keeping it contemporary,” he says. If your story is like The Great Gatsby in that it can’t be set in contemporary times, plan to pitch it to Hollywood as a strong “period” piece.

3.       Use the three-act structure.

Your story should have an irresistible opening, a middle with unexpected twists and a conclusive, satisfying ending. Atchity says the middle of the story is the toughest act for writers. So, he suggests you divide it into three acts as well. That way you can use excitement, complications and a climax to spice up the middle of your book.

And when you’re ready for Hollywood to see your completed story, our Book-to-Screen services can help.

  • A professional reader can develop your book’s Hollywood Coverage, an industry standard for pitching to the movie and TV industry.
  • A screenwriter can give your book a Hollywood Treatment, which outlines how your book could be adapted into a screenplay.
  • Or, hire a screenwriter to write a complete Hollywood Screenplay that you can submit to Hollywood.

For all of our Book-to-Screen services, your work will be considered for film adaptation by our first-look partner Thruline Entertainment, a Hollywood management and production company whose clients include Academy Award nominated screenwriters, Emmy Award winners and A-list Hollywood actors.

In addition to those services, we’re gearing up for PitchFest 2012. On Oct. 19, you’ll be able to pitch your book to Hollywood executives in a face-to-face setting. The deadline to register is Sept. 30, so if you’re interested in attending, sign up soon.

Now that we’ve gone through some of the ways you can turn your book into a movie, we want to hear more about your book.

Would you be interested in seeing your story on film? Why would your book make a good movie?

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