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Use a naming workshop to find the title of your next book

Are you having trouble coming up with the perfect title for your next book? Maybe it’s time to leverage the Power of the Group!

group smart

I just began a blog series for a group blog written by authors from the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup. The goal of the blog is to give exposure to members of our group by encouraging regular blogs at monthly intervals. No one has to write more than one post per month, yet we all share in the marketing and resulting attention to the blog and our books. I decided that rather than write on random topics for my monthly contributions, I would work around a singular topic: The Power of the Group.

Our Meetup is proof that the group works, and I invite you to read that blog and the posts to come on this topic.

I came across an excellent post this morning from MarketingProfs, one of the best online marketing resources I know of. The post is titled “10 Steps to a Successful Naming Workshop,” and my immediate first thought was how useful this might be when it came to helping authors find great book titles.

I highly encourage you to read the whole post, but here are the 10 steps, without any explanation:

1. Get Everyone Together in a Room

2. Start With a Brain  Dump

3. The Free-Association Exercise

4. The Scrabble Exercise

5. The Blockbuster Exercise

6. The Thesaurus Exercise

7. The Role-Play Exercise

8. Taste It, Touch It, Smell It

9. Quick Pick-Me-Up

10. Put a Shortlist Together

Why would it be advantageous to get a group together to help you name your book? Here are several reasons I can think of, off the top of my head:
  • It will take the pressure off you.
  • The group dynamic brings out more ideas than you could come up with on your own.
  • It’s the opportunity to bring together diverse thinkers – not just your typical readers or people from your industry.
  • It’s a great way to help build buzz. Who wouldn’t want to spread the word about a book they had a hand in titling?
  • You can offer participation as a perk for your crowdfunding campaign.
There is vast power inside a well-formed group. As Seth Godin puts it:
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.
― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Please let us know in the comments section if you’ve seen the group dynamic work to help you achieve success with your book!

Here’s to a the power of the group!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

How to make sure your card doesn’t wind up in THIS pile

little piles of money

Do you have a box that looks like this? Business cards you’ve collected over the weeks, months, or years that have yet to be recorded, added to your mailing list, or followed up upon? Perhaps the cards you’ve collected are a bit less organized. How many business cards and little bits of paper with the contact info from interesting people you’ve met in your travels do you have in piles on your desk, in your wallet, and strewn throughout your purse or briefcase? As my financial advisor friend Todd Smith once pointed out, would you leave little piles of money lying about? That’s what you’re doing when you don’t follow up and have a way to connect with people regularly.

In October 2011, we wrote a post about building your your email list. Here are some of the other important questions we posed in that post:

  • How big is your list?
  • How accurate is your list? Are the names and addresses current, or do half of them kick back as undeliverable?
  • How niched is your list? Is your list made up of everyone you have ever met, or do you have it categorized so that you can send marketing messages about your book to the people who will actually want to buy it?
  • How regularly do you update your list? How often do you toss the bad addresses and add new ones?
  • Do you have your list organized into an A-B-C system? A indicates the individuals who have expressed direct interest in your book or subject matter. B are the people with whom you have a personal connection, but who may not have a direct interest in your book or industry. C are those folks who are one step from elimination. You met them, but don’t remember where, and just happen to have their card in your pile.
  • How often do you contact your list?
  • How many different ways do you connect with your list? If you’re relying only on e-mail, you’re missing a significant opportunity to impact your list. But, in order to be able to send the very effective occasional greeting card (or contact them by other channels), you will need to collect more than just their e-mail address.

Following that reminder, my major question to you is:

How do you keep your card from staying out of such a pile?

The answer, quite simply, is: Be the first to follow up. Trust me, it works! I attended a networking luncheon yesterday, just a few days after sending out my newsletter. Out of 40 or so women there – not all of whom are on my mailing list – three approached me and told me they appreciate my newsletter, two asked me about the process of writing a book, and one of those indicated she may  be ready to begin working with me after the first of the year. All were, at one point, strangers whose cards I had to add to my list.

I will admit that the cards in the picture at the top of this post belong to yours truly. So just know, this has been an evolving process for me. I’m much better at follow up now than I used to be! Guess when I collected those cards? Would you believe it was 2009?

The good news for you is that it’s never too late to follow up. I found in my research of the individuals belonging to these cards that many of them have changed jobs, careers, or moved away from Phoenix. But I can still find – and connect with – most of them via LinkedIn. So maybe they never made it to my mailing list. Email is a good way but not the only way to connect with people.

Ways you can follow up:

  • email
  • phone call
  • video
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • snail mail

Some of the success of following up is in knowing how best to reach out to specific people. That may be a hit-or-miss process, unless you got to know the person pretty well on the first contact. But the most important thing is having a process at all. Develop one, and use it! I guarantee it will make all the difference in your success.

Here’s to a staying out of the random box of cards!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

The time is ripe for a REAL competitor to Amazon

If  you’re in the publishing industry – even as a self-publisher – you’d be foolish to ignore the coming wave of eBooks. But it’s far too soon to speak of the demise of printed books. Nevertheless, this is an interesting piece from the Irish Times about shifts in the industry.

up market

Personally, I agree with Donna Tartt, Stephen King, and Malcolm Gladwell that Amazon does more to harm authors – and books – than it does to preserve the integrity of the publishing arena. Jeff Bezos makes no secret of the fact that he is in it for the money, and he’s counting on people to keep buying based on price and convenience. I wouldn’t argue that point, but here are two other things to consider:

(1) The consumer market is broad. In spite of all the damage it has done (and continues to do) to our economy and the American middle class, Walmart continues to attract loyal customers who wouldn’t dream of shopping elsewhere – largely because of the store’s willingness to be the “low price leader.” But when it comes to marketing most goods and services, being the low-price leader is not usually a good way to compete. Walmart succeeds because they have such a large market share. But guess who’s still in business, too? Lord & Taylor, Sachs, Nordstrom and lots of other up-market retailers. Likewise, there are consumers out there who are willing to pay more to support authors who are producing high-quality books!

(2) Circumstances are ripe for another smaller player (or several others) to come in and take a significant share of the online book market. Whether you’re a beer drinker or not, chances are you’ve heard of the Samuel Adams brand. Did you know that Sam Adams has just 1 PERCENT of the beer market? As I continue to speak and work and consult in the self-publishing field, I’m shifting my purchases and promotions to Powell’s Books and Barnes & Noble as my own small way of working to level the playing field even slightly. We DON’T HAVE TO give all our business to Amazon. We’ve just become conditioned to do so.

That said, Amazon is right now still a huge player, and self-publishers who ignore it may do so to their peril. But tread lightly, and not without being fully informed! READ all the fine print before listing your book with Amazon or signing up for KDP Select. And have a fallback plan; don’t put all your publishing eggs in the Amazon basket. This is a case where the fox most definitely rules the proverbial chicken coop.

Here’s to a being an informed self-publisher and consumer!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: If proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”

Elmore Leonard

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

You don’t have to be the first to make a creative idea work

Here are three different, but related, definitions of creativity:*

“Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing imaginationdomain into a new one… What counts is whether the novelty he or she produces is accepted for inclusion in the domain.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity – Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

* * *

“Creativity is generating new ideas and concepts, or making connections between ideas where none previously existed.” – Mitchell Rigie and Keith Harmeyer, SmartStorming

* * *

“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” – Einstein, quoted in Creativity, Design and Business Performance

My favorite part about these definitions is the idea that creativity is the ability to create something new that did not previously exist OR the ability to see something that has existed before in a new way or with a new purpose.

I think this is a very healthy way to approach book marketing. Sometimes it feels like all the good ideas have already been taken, that there really is nothing new. That doesn’t have to be a hindrance. Henry Ford is often – incorrectly – credited for creating the assembly line. In actuality, he didn’t create the assembly line; he repurposed it from a meat packing plant. But it was his use that caught the world’s attention, because it meant fabricating cars at a speed previously unimagined. And the idea soon caught on in all of manufacturing.

Where can you use what you’ve seen another author do to generate an idea for your own book marketing? One of the most creative ideas I’ve ever seen – and yet the most obvious – was by a gal who wrote a murder mystery that took place in a hair salon. She scheduled a series of book signings in hair salons! How perfect is that? First, it complements her theme. Second, what do women sitting for long sessions have time to do? READ!

So I’m willing to bet that your novel doesn’t take place in a hair salon. But it takes place somewhere. And it has characters with careers and hobbies and interests. Where are the natural venues for your book events?

Say you wrote a nonfiction book that doesn’t have characters. What is your book about? My husband is a guitar instructor who’s writing a book about learning the guitar. Natural venues for his book events are music stores and bars/restaurants that feature musical acts. What if he could schedule his book event during the intermission between two acts at a concert venue? Think he’d get any attention? Regardless of your topic, there are more than likely at least several places – or kinds of places – that are perfect for you and your book.

And don’t limit yourself to brick-and-mortar locations. What about the possibility of a non-book online retailer selling your book? If yours is the only book they sell, do you think you’d stand out and get attention? One of my clients has written a novel called The Audacious Ladies of La Gran Sorellanza, about group of mob wives who get together to help stop child trafficking in the sex trades. It’s set in the 1950s, before there were as many safeguards and groups teaching awareness as there are today. Yet this vile crime still persists. So we’re working to reach out to contemporary anti-trafficking and parenting organizations to create partnerships. One option is to encourage them to use the book as a fundraising tool. The author will discount the book so that the groups can make money, but she’ll still make a profit, too. And because the book is self-published, she even has the option to offer each group a personalized page in the book!

Again, you don’t have to be the first author to employ a creative idea. Saturday’s Arizona Republic newspaper featured a story about a group of elite hotels in Vail, Colorado, that hosted its own Housekeeping Olympics to celebrate International Housekeepers Week for their staffs. This annual recognition week is 33 years old, begun in 1981 by the International Executive Housekeeping Association to “focus attention and recognition on the professional housekeepers working in facilities such as hospitals, hotels, state facilities, colleges/schools, and many others who maintain a cleaner, safer, healthier environment for us all each and every day.”*

housekeeping olympics

And the Housekeeping Olympics have been going on for at least 25 years in the U.S. However, reading Saturday’s paper was the first time I ever recall learning about this longstanding tradition. Was the Colorado event an original idea? Not at all. So what made it newsworthy? The fact that a different caliber of hotels created their own private event.

Here’s my challenge – you knew it was coming, didn’t you? Let go of the thought, “There are no new ideas” and replace it with, “How can I revamp or revitalize that old idea?

Here’s to implementing your awesome, creative marketing ideas!

Laura

*RESOURCES:

http://celestra.ca/top-10-creativity-definitions/

http://www.ieha.org/ev_219-International_Housekeepers_Week_2014

http://www.reporterherald.com/news/colorado/ci_26708984/hotel-housekeepers-compete-their-own-olympics?source=rss

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Writers and Readers

Continuing a new feature we began several months ago: Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”

Robert Frost

 

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

Fall celebrations include Hispanic Heritage Month AND Oktoberfest!

One of the best ways to market your book is by paying attention to the seasons, holidays, and events that dovetail with your book’s mission and/or message.

We’ve covered lots of these in the past:

If your book has a natural tie-in to a day-/week-/month-long celebration, play up that connection! Here are just a few ideas:

  • Offer a special promotion.
  • Use graphics related to that day on your blog or social media pages.
  • Do some research and offer some little-known or humorous facts about the season, holiday, or event.

We’ve just entered October, so the book marketing opportunities are plentiful.

OCTOBER

  1. In some parts of the country, Oktoberfest is still (or just getting) underway. Why not host a contest for the best photo of someone in lederhosen holding/reading your book?
  2. Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Who and where are your Hispanic connections? If it’s a fit for your book, celebrate this month by offering a discount to members of your local Hispanic Chamber.
  3. And, of course, the big daddy of them all: HALLOWEEN. If your book is horror or suspense themed, this is probably a no-brainer. But let’s think a little creatively for a minute. How about throwing an impromptu book signing party? Sharing an old family recipe for popcorn balls or candied apples? Offering craft ideas related to books or your characters or message?

All you have to do is begin to look for the opportunities, and you’ll find them peeking out from the most surprising – and obvious – places.

Have ideas we haven’t mentioned – or things you’ve tried that have worked? PLEASE share them with us in the comments section!

Here’s to a brilliant fall and more successful book marketing!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

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