Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians sponsored by
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#244, April 8, 2005

SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for previous presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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My Writings
A bibliography of my published articles and columns, with links to those available online.

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Order My Books

Net Effects: How Librarians Can Manage the Unintended Consequences of the Internet, and The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint.

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine

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E-Mail Subscription?

For a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, use the same form but click on "unsubscribe." To change addresses for an existing subscription, unsubscribe from that form and return to the page to enter the new address.

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. Corollary: Who Cares?
  3. The answer depends on the question
  4. Research is a multi-stage process
  5. Ask a Librarian
  6. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence
  7. Information can be true and still wrong
  8. Pay attention to the jokes

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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin
  15. John Guscott
  16. Brian Smith
  17. Darlene Fichter
  18. Brenda Bailey-Hainer
  19. Walt Crawford
  20. Molly Williams
  21. Genie Tyburski
  22. Patrice McDermott
  23. Carrie Bickner
  24. Karen G. Schneider
  25. Roddy MacLeod, Part I
  26. Roddy MacLeod, Part II
  27. John Hubbard
  28. Micki McIntyre
  29. Péter Jacsó

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes from all previous issues are at

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When and How To Search the Net

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 750 and 1000 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Write me at: marylaine at

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related.

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How To Find Out of Print Books
Suggested strategies, resources, and finding tools.

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Best Information on the Net
bestinfo/default.htmThe directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
an occasional column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

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Book Proposal

Land of Why Not: an Appreciation of America. Proposal for an anthology of some of my best writing. An outline and sample columns are available here.

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My personal page

PRESS. PROFIT. AND PROVOCATION: Library Promotion for the Over-educated: Part 5

by Tia Dobi.

"Thank you for reading this book. I trust you enjoyed it, were inspired by it, and maybe even experienced insights that will help you, too, go for and achieve your dreams. I wonder what you will do next. Dare something worthy."
Dr. Joe Vitale, one of the world's best direct marketers, known as "Mr. Fire," in his book Adventures Within.

I'm a copywriter. And this is my confession: Hypnotic writing sells.

Don't believe me? Then toss out all your holding's best-sellers. Timeless classics. Volumes of Shakespeare. Romance paperbacks. And Harry Potters.

C'mon. Couldn't your library could use a little spring cleaning? OK OK. But you know and I know that year after year, time after time, book after book, some things never change. And that's good reading. Which is born of good writing.

That's what you and I have in common. I write. You peddle books. We both want people to read. And what better time of year for waving the magic wand and enchanting people than with a spring promotional.

One in particular has got me up and running. Jumping up and down. Ecstatic actually. Is it the new IRS pamphlet touting their latest gizmo in e-tronic and tele-phony tax filing? Could be…. Or how 'bout this. I'm a library fanatic. So it must be National Library Week. Hmmm… maybe maybe. Or… suppose it could be the rush of excitement surrounding the pre-release sales of the latest Harry Potter tome?

Well, almost. Actually, it's this news release that appeared in my inbox at noon Pacific time yesterday that got my blood thumping:

Author Picks Fight With Harry Potter -- and Wins
#2 Bestseller Uses Internet in New Ways to Sell Books

(April 6, 2005) The Texas author of numerous books is using a wild EBay auction, online allies, and a truckload of bonuses to, as he says, "chase Harry Potter up a tree." Joe Vitale's latest book "The Attractor Factor: 5 Easy Steps for Creating Wealth (or anything else) From the Inside Out" (Wiley, $29.95) hit #2 at Amazon and #2 at Barnes and Noble yesterday and is still there today.

The latest Potter book -- still unreleased -- is #1.

"I've bumped Trump, and Da Vinci, and I'm going after Potter," announced the author, whose book is #1 in the business category.

His method has been grassroots and inexpensive:

First: He made an offer few could refuse. Go to and you'll see a list of 23 bonuses -- "ethical bribes," Vitale calls them -- for anyone who buys his book today. This encourages sales in one day. Many people are buying hundreds of copies to support the author. Vitale just extended the deadline on these offers to midnight on April 6th.

Second: He has used allies to win the war. Vitale contacted owners of large [e-]lists and asked them to do a mailing for him. Most agreed, knowing it would be good publicity for them to be involved in Vitale's one-man underground campaign to sell books.

Third: Friends of his posted a creative auction on EBay to sell two million books in one week. Whether he does it or not will have to be seen. See the listing at

"I'm one guy and a computer going up against a fictional character with a media empire behind him," said Vitale. "Everyone said I don't stand a chance. But look - I'm already #2."

Will he dethrone the Potter king?

Vitale, who is a magician in his spare time, waves his magic wand and says, "Harry Potter oblivio."

"I have more tricks in my Internet bag," says Vitale, who has made bestsellers before using his online system. "Just watch my e-smoke." # # #


When I called Joe two hours later to chat with him for this article, he had done it. "The Attractor Factor" just hit #1 on Barnes and Noble, beating everyone from Trump to Harry Potter. And the book is #1 in Business books on Amazon, and #2 there in all books.

This is historic.

No one has ever beaten Potter. In fact, Joe's first printing of 20,000 sold-out completely, stumping his publisher (who's in their 2nd printing as you read this). What's even more fun is that when I called, Joe was penning his NEW press release.

Now that's press, profit and provocation in action.


DOBI: Joe, I'm jazzed. I can't stop smiling. I was just writing a piece for my library marketeurs' column, thinking how hard it can be for libraries to get the word out these days. Especially with so many budget cuts…

Dr. Joe: It's a myth, Tia, that you need to have a lot of money and existing relationships and bonuses to sell books (or anything). It's people who I don't know at all that helped me do the impossible. I'm one man and I went up against a media machine; I chose to beat out Harry Potter simply because it's the #1 selling book on the web right now. If it had been another book, then that would have been my target.

I made it a challenge; the marketing is a story in itself. I asked. I asked people to do things for me and they said yes! A man in Dallas who had read the book said he would volunteer his time to my Internet marketing cause. And he threw in a free offer to win a trip to people who purchase at least 3 copies.

I asked a company with an email list of a million names if I could have the names for free. For FREE. I told them a little bit about my book, how a testimonial said it could change humanity, because it can, and they gave me the list. [Joe has reader and life-changing testimonials - one of our top marketeur's tools - posted on his site.] So we were able to do a million-person emailing. My publisher couldn't believe it! The dollar cost of those types of lists start at $10 grand.

DOBI: So you made the offer irresistible?

Dr. Joe: Absolutely! I used the Internet to get the best leverage. I had to get enough book sales within a certain timeframe [Amazon and Barnes and Noble calculate sales hourly] to reach my goal of bumping Potter. So I offered a 24-hour [now extended due to the sell-out] 23-bonus ethical bribe. Tia, tell your librarians what I teach everyone: You MUST be different in your offerings.

And that my book can make a difference in the world is attractive in itself. People can give them as gifts, this book has the potential to change humanity, lift people out of poverty.

DOBI: What advice could you give the readers?

Dr. Joe: Two things. First, ask away. Ask people to try your stuff, give you stuff, promote your stuff. And second, to put two copies of my book in every American library. One for the person who can't afford to buy it, and change his or her life because it's a transformational 5-step process to attract anything you want. The other for city officials. This book can help entire cities.

DOBI: What's next in your marketing plan?

Dr. Joe: To keep selling books. It's in all the bookstores and thanks to my 24 hour internet success, I'm doing radio interviews with the press. Which means I'm driving more online sales. I'm getting more email marketing lists, writing more news releases. Here's my latest header "Texas author beats wizard using the internet."

DOBI: I love Harry Potter.

Dr. Joe: I do too! Honestly, I didn't think this would happen. I'm wired.


Sure, having a lot of people buy a book can be a wonderful thing. But like library cards, you want them to USE it. What got me excited about the book wasn't so much the book itself. In fact, the press release doesn't talk too much about the book does it?

Look at the style, the look and feel, the personality of the press release. These factors represent the brand - the behaviour - of the product you're offering. And perception of behaviour translates into usage of a product.

Joe's press release has some good old fashioned hypnotic writing going for it.

  • The header is informative, lively and tells a story. (80% of readability of any writing stems from the headline. Think a book isn't judged by it's cover? Ok. Try its title.) It also uses two other tools of great press writing: picks up on a trend (Harry Potter) and mentions one of the press' pet loves: how-to market stories.

  • The sentences are short, written in present tense and make for tiny, bit-size paragraphs.

  • No acronyms.

  • All the info about the product is condensed into tight writing: who, what, when, where and in this case, includes the price (gutsy).

  • The release quotes the author, another gutsy move. If the topic is sexy (in this case it is - there's a lot of 'wins' here) then choosing a company spokesperson who has something interesting to say works.

  • Lots of tie-ins to celebrities and/or well-known names.

  • The author isn't afraid to let us in on his how-to secrets. How-to's are the #1 seller to both the press and the public.

  • Joe's information includes ways to see/get the book. No typos or broken links. Which means no fumbling around for the reporter. [I removed his publicist's contact at the top and his boilerplate at the end.]

  • The idea of selling two million books in a week is both wacky and interesting. A reporter could take any of the paragraphs and work with that alone as an angle. Gutsy is good.

  • Joe places himself as the underdog. There's an angle here.

  • Asking a question makes people think. Smart move.

  • That Joe is a magician in his spare time is also an interesting tidbit.

  • The release ends on a fun and challenging note. At the time, Joe was at #2.

  • The writing is inverted pyramid style: imperative facts up front, quote, broadening and supportive information 'for colour' at base. If the press only printed the basics, (name, price of book) Joe's a winner.

  • The words are easy to understand. The release could be read allowed and still be followed. Remember: 4th grade reading level.

  • And most important, the words paint pictures. Hypnotic writing is the magic of the reader seeing the words. With each paragraph, little stores are painted. Painting stories is why most people go to the library. They may want to read one. Or are working at painting one of their own.



    Buddha said "Desire is the cause of all suffering." Now what do you suppose he meant by that? Simply, this "Misunderstood desire is the cause of all suffering." And what do I mean by that? Well, when there's more to something that meets the eye. When there's an underlying passion so real, so strong, so beautiful, that it hurts to not get it out. What? Let's take a look at this.

    Here's a sample press release posted on the ALA's site as a choice for you to use during National Library Week.

    For release National Library Week
    April 11-16, 2005
    Contact: (name, title, phone number)

    [Name of Library] reminds users there's something for everyone; encourages residents to support their library

    (CITY, STATE) - It's National Library Week, a time to celebrate the contributions of libraries, librarians and library workers to their schools, campuses and communities.

    "Books. Magazines. Videos. CDs. Databases. Internet access. You name it. The [name of library] has something for everyone," says [name and title of your spokesperson].

    As part of this annual event, the [name of library] will be hosting the following programs and events:

    List your programs here.

    National Library Week 2005 marks the fifth year of The Campaign for America's Libraries, a multi-year public education campaign sponsored by the ALA and libraries across the country to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. More than 20,000 libraries in all 50 states are being reached by @ your library®, The Campaign for America's Libraries.

    "National Library Week is not only a great time to see what's new @ your library but also a time to stand up and speak out as a library advocate," adds [spokesperson]. "There are lots of opportunities to help the [name of library] -- including [list your volunteer opportunities, ie joining the Friends group, offering to read to children, becoming a homework tutor, joining in the book sale, promoting a program, petitioning for more funding, appearing at a town hall meeting on behalf of the library etc.]

    For more information about National Library Week and about becoming a library advocate, visit the [name of library] at [address], call [phone number] or see the library's Web site at [provide URL].



    "This is a masterpiece!!!! It's a bona-fide, tear-jerkin' mind-numbin', heart-warmin' miracle!"

    "I could not put this book down. The writing is real, gutsy, and unconditionally honoring of life."

    "Fascinating, thought-provoking and informative. I learn something new every time I read this book."

    - 3 quoted testimonials from the backs of some of Joe Vitale's books.


    Have you ever heard that song? A guy with a funny accent sings about how he essentially, just goes nuts with all the good stuff, good feel and good fun he has at Christmastime. Well, now's your time to go nuts.

    It's National Library Week for the nation's sake! Are you having fun with it?

    Go on, light a fire. To that ALA press release. And then light one under your assets. And re-write YOUR very own. Your story, your words, your library, your fun. Which will be the spark that ignites your community.

    And like one man, Joe Vitale, blow it sky-high.

    Let me know how the flame grows.

    Tia Dobi is a copywriter and library fanatic living in Los Angeles. Reach her now at [email protected]

    Joe Vitale's #1 best-selling book "The Attractor Factor" can be found online at Wiley Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or one of Joe's kazillion websites:


  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4

  • Part 6

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    I used to recommend a terrific book on resumes that warned students that the words they use create an image of the person who wrote them. It was called Does Your Resume Wear Blue Jeans?

    Note to librarians: Do your press releases wear a bun and sensible shoes?

    Marylaine Block, in an e-mail to Tia Dobi, April 6, 2005.

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    You are welcome to copy and forward any of my own articles (but not those by my guest writers) for noncommercial purposes as long as you credit ExLibris and cite the permanent URL for the article. Please do NOT copy and post my articles to your own web sites, however. Instead, please copy a brief excerpt and link to the URL for the remainder of the article.

    Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
    Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2005.

    [Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.]