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Archive for August, 2011

Today’s  marketing is ANYTHING but a linear process

Not all that long ago, it was virtually a given when studying marketing to learn about the sales funnel the top-down model of building a customer base.

Social media has largely changed that. A fantastic article from Marketing Profs details this shift and the emerging winding road that is now the “client cycle.” Whereas metrics knowing WHERE your clients and customers are coming from are still important, the methods for tracking them has changed in response to the new marketing. According to Marketing Profs:

Whether they’re interested in a new pair of shoes or a new virtual private network, future customers can first engage with a potential purchase in many ways. That engagement could be via a billboard with a URL that they type into their smartphone’s mobile browser, or a click on a Facebook wall post from a friend’s feed, or a search on Google.

* * *

The best marketers can hope to do in such an environment is to manage the process so that even though all roads may not lead to Rome, eventually all roads lead to, and through, digital “toll booths” of content and information exchange.
What this means is there’s no right way or wrong way to begin a book marketing campaign, and there is no correct point of entry. That being said, you have to start somewhere. Do your research to determine where YOUR readers are most likely to come from. I still believe a blog is one of the fastest ways with the best return when it comes to staking a claim for your market, but you must determine the right way for you.
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Once you understand that marketing is not a linear process, you can embrace the holistic approach necessary to create your various on- and offline “toll booths.”
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The takeaways from this message are important:
  • We are inundated with thousands of marketing messages every day.
  • People are taking diverse paths to find the market for the goods [books] they consume.
  • You are missing the boat if you are not using a diverse strategy to reach them.
  • Your diverse strategy must include BOTH on- and offline components.
  • A deep understanding of relationship marketing is utterly essential.
  • Relationship marketing means the focus is on the prospective buyer, not the campaign.
  • You are not your buyer, even though you wrote the book they will wind up buying.
  • We need new tools to measure the new marketing.

As Marcie said early on, the most important thing is that you get started!

Happy marketing…

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been focusing on 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Today we’re going to discuss the marketing options available for authors on Amazon.

Love them or hate them, Amazon sells a LOT of books. And while it’s not a perfect system, they do a decent job with free promotional tools for authors. Today we’re going to examine 2 aspects of Amazon’s marketing tools for authors: (1) the Look Inside program, and (2) Amazon’s Author Central.

An astonishing number of authors who sell their books through Amazon are not taking advantage of these tools. Case in point: Even authors of marketing books are not utilizing this feature, as illustrated below. Three of the top five authors in the general topic of marketing do not have the Look Inside feature attached to their books.

One of the laments of the  move toward digital bookselling is the fact that you can’t wander through the store or pick up the book and page through it. I agree! Amazon offers the next best thing with its Look Inside program. Personally, I cannot imagine purchasing a book I have not examined ahead of time, if only to see the Table of Contents, front and back covers, and a sample chapter. It astonishes me that any author would neglect this important piece of marketing.

In order to use the Look Inside feature, an author must first be signed up with Amazon’s Author Central program. It’s pretty simple. Just click the JOIN NOW button and follow the prompts.

First, enter the name under which your book(s) is published.

Next, claim your title(s).

Then you will be directed to a page that allows you to:

  • Update your profile and bibliography
    • Add a photo and biography to an Author Central Profile
    • View and edit our list of your books
  • Add a blog
    • Add a blog you already write using an RSS feed
  • Learn more
    • Enroll your books in Kindle
    • Join Search Inside the Book
    • Become an Amazon Associate

It’s through the link on this page that you sign up for the Look/Search Inside program.

According to Amazon, joining the Look Inside program will do 3 things for you, as an author: 

When shoppers search for books on Amazon.com, Amazon uses the actual words from the text of participating books not just the author, title, and keywords supplied by the publisher to return the best possible results for each search. For matches that come from text inside the book, Amazon also displays a short excerpt and links to the page(s) where the query matched.

Titles you submit to Search Inside are automatically eligible for personalization and merchandising features throughout Amazon. For example, if a customer views a book by another author that uses one of your key terms and later returns to Amazon, he may see a recommendation for your book.

From any book detail page, customers have the opportunity to sample the book using our Look Inside reader. This includes being able to preview sample pages, view a random page or search for a specific reference or character.

LOOK INSIDE REQUIREMENTS

  • Do not include dashes in your filename.
  • PDF is text-based (as opposed to image-based)
  • The PDF is free of security (changes, selection, document printing are allowed).
  • All fonts are embedded especially if custom fonts are used.
  • A front cover is provided, either as a bookmark in the PDF or as a separate file (PDF or JPG)
  • The order of pages in the PDF corresponds to the physical book. Each page in the PDF file must correspond to one page in the physical printed book.

A single PDF which includes all required components in a single bookmarked PDF. This will include:

  • The front cover
  • All printed pages
  • In addition to the front cover, Amazon prefers to have a back cover as well. They also would prefer to have the front flap, back flap, and spine, if possible.

Much like Smashwords, the author can determine how much of the book’s interior will be previewed, the least being 10 percent, and increasing in 10 percent increments.

AUTHOR CENTRAL

In addition to the Look Inside feature, Amazon also makes a detailed author’s page available to each author. Again, I cannot imagine trying to sell books on Amazon without taking the time to complete this step. It costs you NOTHING but time and a little imagination!

For your effort, you get to include 8 pieces of information:

  1. Author bio
  2. A list of your books
  3. Upcoming events and book signings
  4. Customer discussions – DO THIS!
  5. A link to your blog
  6. Photos from your book and/or topic
  7. Videos, including book trailers and interviews
  8. Your Twitter feed

With all of those benefits available to you that enable you not only to give away a sample of your work, but also to interact with your readers on a one-on-one basis, you can’t afford to skip these marketing steps!

Make sure to check back on Monday when we’ll be talking about how to put your sample chapters on a DVD so that you can give them away for free. 

MARCIE

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*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

Read Full Post »

You an EXPERT? Leave the public domain works alone and write your own stuff.

OK this is just my opinion (as is most of what you’ll read on this blog), but I think co-opting public domain* materials to create your own books or info products is a cop-out.  It’s not illegal, but it is a lazy shortcut that shortchanges the reader, the person whom you, as a writer, want to be keeping at the forefront of your focus.

“Wow – those seem like fightin’ words, Laura!”

I suppose they do, because I am adamant about this. And here’s why:

I believe that whether we acknowledge it or not, we each have an area of expertise. It doesn’t have to be business related, but there’s probably something in your life that you do better than most people, even if it’s just taking the time to chat with Grandma and Great-Aunt Edna when they come to visit. If you’re writing a book you plan to sell, owning that expertise is crucial.

The question to ponder is: How did you develop your expertise? Perhaps you studied, read, researched, interviewed, and/or put in lots of hands-on time and effort developing this specialized knowledge. The fact is, now you have that knowledge, and that’s what people are paying you for.

By the time you get to the point where you are willing to commit to writing a book, I honestly feel that you should have enough experience, opinions, and knowledge to craft your OWN book. That’s not to say that you can’t and won’t use other experts’ knowledge as source material for your work, but in writing your book, you are publishing your thoughts, your opinions, your expert point of view.

On the other hand, reading a public domain book, rearranging a few words, and putting it forth as your own do not make you an expert. If you’re honest, you’ll admit that  this amounts to nothing more than a cheesy get-rich-quick scheme, and we all know where most of those wind up, don’t we? If making money is your only reason for writing a book, you might want to rethink that.

I encourage you: If you want to write a book, write a book. But put in the work, time, energy, effort, and money to become a REAL expert. Your readers will thank you, and it will pay off in your business.

Laura

* Here’s a great explanation of public domain and the accompanying questions of copyright.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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The Art of Captivation: What makes us LOVE that book, movie, song…?

You probably have one of your own. That CD or MP3 you’ve listened to 1,000 times. For me, it’s the first 3 songs from U2’s Joshua Tree (Side A for you old-school vinyl enthusiasts). I’m not sure what it is about The Edge’s primal guitar beat that is so captivating, but it is as intoxicating to me as any drink. I hear the intro to “The Streets Have No Name” and I want to climb inside the music. Add an open car window on the freeway at midnight, and I’m in heaven.

Right now, you might be relating, or thinking I have terrible taste in that overblown Irish quartet. The point isn’t that you agree with my taste, but that you can relate to the concept of music you absolutely love.

 

These passionate responses are not exclusive to music. What about that movie you’ve watched dozens of times? The painting that mesmerizes you? The book that’s falling apart, you’ve read it so many times?

What makes them so special? Although there are general success indicators, the answer to that question is personal to each of us.

For example, the music industry has distilled the prediction of hit records (primarily from new artists) down to a science. Ever wondered why so many hits have such a similar sound? It might be related to the fact that music researchers in labs hook up test subjects to electrodes and measure their responses to numbers of beats, rhythms, and tones. The studios then generally take risks only on those artists whose music meets the standards predicted by the research.

Similarly, a guy decided to research what makes an Academy Award-winning movie. He got copies of 25 years’ worth of Oscar winners, watched them, and dissected and recorded the similarities between them. Then, he turned his research into a screenwriting class for which he charges thousands of dollars. Not surprisingly, many of his students sell their scripts and see them made into films.

Even with these behind-the-scenes “manipulations,” not every song the studios release becomes a hit, nor does every screenplay from this man’s class become a movie. They are indicators, though.

One thing I’ve observed about most popular art forms is that they’re usually of decent quality. Of course, every now and then a lousy book or movie finds a cult following, but more often than not, the things we like as a culture are pretty good. However, even the most popular books, movies, and music will never appeal to everyone.

As a personal example, it’s just in the last 15 years that I’ve begun to like the Beatles. And to this day, I’m still not a fan of one of the most popular bands of all time, The Rolling Stones. Both inarguably quality artists, but one appeals to me much more than the other, and even that one took some time to grow on me.

What does all of this have to do with you and marketing your book? A few quick reminders:

  • If you want to sell books, make the best book you can.
  • There are success formulas; one of them may work for you.
  • When it comes right down to it, taste is individual. Some readers will resonate with you; those are the ones you want to find and cultivate.
  • Even if you hit a home run with your book, there will be some people who don’t like it.

Study the movies, music, and books you love; pay attention to what about them captivates you. Are there hints you can glean about developing and capturing a similar passion in your readers?

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

Read Full Post »

How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been talking about 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. Last time, we learned how to create a zine. Today we’re going to focus on the easiest, most common ways to make a chapter or selection from your book into an eBook that you can give away for free.

If you’ve already converted your book or published an eBook, you can probably skip this post, except to say that you might want consider cropping it to offer just one or two chapters as a free giveaway through your blog, website, or social media outlets.

All of these processes are done electronically, so the only equipment you’ll need is a computer and Internet access.

We’re going to discuss 4 of the most common methods of eBook conversion:

  1. PDF
  2. Mobipocket
  3. Smashwords
  4. Text files

The thing to keep in mind is that an eBook CAN be an exact electronic duplicate of a printed book, but it doesn’t have to be, and frequently is not. The popularity of eBooks is continuing to skyrocket, and with it a multitude of eReaders is becoming available. However, not all of them are equipped to handle graphics or fancy pagination, so a decent rule of thumb, at least for the time being, is that simpler is better when converting your writing into eBooks.

Before you begin any of these processes, make sure you:

  • Abbreviate your file to include only the chapter(s) you want to give away for free.
  • Double check that you have not inadvertently cut off any sections while you were creating your excerpt.
  • Give one last run-through for grammar and spelling errors you may previously have missed, especially if this is the first time you will be publishing your work.
  • Unless you will be using the PDF method to convert your chapter(s), make sure you’ve got it stripped down to a simplified file with few images and no fancy pagination.

PDFs

PDFs are the best way to ensure consistency between the printed
book and the ebook conversion
, but they’re limited to use on a computer,
tablet, or smartphone that can read them –
and they won’t translate
for many eReaders.

Depending on how your computer is configured, once you’ve got your file
saved the way you want for the conversion, you may be able to hit “Print”
and select “Adobe PDF” as your “printer” option.

A second possibility if you’re saving from a MS Word 2007 document is to choose
the “Save As” command and then select the PDF option.

If you do not appear to have a PDF conversion mechanism of any sort already
installed, you can download a free piece of conversion software called CutePDF
that works quite well.

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MOBIPOCKET

MobiPocket is the ebook technology employed by Amazon’s Kindle eReader.
Convert your MS Word files to .mobi files using the free Mobipocket eBook Creator. Download the software and follow the instructions and prompts.

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SMASHWORDS

Smashwords is a free online service you can use to convert your books
(or chapters) to eBooks. It’s quite a nice program because it will allow you
to upload to ALL of the major eReaders (including Kindle), but it requires
a VERY stripped down version of your text with next to no formatting.

The Smashwords.com site also gives you four pricing options:

  • FREE
  • Let the reader set the price
  • You set a fixed price for the book
  • You can specify that a portion of a book you have for sale is available
    for free
    .

Visit the site and follow the prompts to upload your book.

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TEXT FILES

The easiest way to convert a file that almost
anyone can read on almost any platform is simply
by saving it as a .TXT file.

1. In any version of MS Word, choose the
“Save As” command and select “Other Formats.”
2. Find the drop-down menu.
3. Choose RTF or Rich Text File, and hit
“Save.”

 

That’s it for our four simple ways to convert your sample chapter to an eBook. Once you’ve converted it, the next thing is to TELL PEOPLE it’s available. Announce it on Facebook. Send a couple Tweets. And, of course, let your mailing list know. You can even ask other authors, editors, marketers, literary types, and anyone who loves and supports you to help you get the word out.

Make it a personal mission to have 500 people read your free chapter(s) within a certain period of time. This means, of course, you’ll have to figure out how to know they’ve read it. One way might be to motivate your pre-readers to comment about your chapter on your blog by announcing that you’ll enter all commenters into a drawing for a copy of the finished book. This will do two things for you:

(1) Give you feedback on the book.

(2) Give you an idea of how many people the chapters are reaching.

Remember, these are just a few ideas. Put on that SBM* Thinking Cap and see what other wonderful ways you can dream up to get the word out about your free chapter(s). If anything awesome comes of this experience for you, please come back and share it in our comments section!

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

__________________

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

Thursday, August 4 A Savvy Book Marketer embraces the idea of giving freely

Read Full Post »

If bookstores were properly categorized…

Oh, how I wish I could take credit for this one! Here is a delightful excerpt from Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Book lovers near and far will be able to relate to this!

Sections in the Bookstore

  • Books You Haven’t Read
  • Books You Needn’t Read
  • Books Made for Purposes Other than Reading
  • Books Read Even Before You Open Them, Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written
  • Books That if You Had More than One Life, You Would Certainly Also Read, but Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
  • Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
  • Books Too Expensive Now and You’ll Wait ‘Til They’re Remaindered
  • Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback
  • Books You Can Borrow from Somebody
  • Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s as if You Had Read Them, Too
  • Books You’ve Been Planning to Read for Ages
  • Books You’ve Been Hunting for Years Without Success
  • Books Dealing with Something You’re Working on at the Moment
  • Books You Want to Own So They’ll Be Handy Just in Case
  • Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer
  • Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves
  • Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
  • Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time to Re-read
  • Books You’ve Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It’s Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them
  • Books You Love but Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead Holding on the Subway**
  • Books You’ve Lent to Someone, but You Can’t Remember Who**
  • Books to Inspire Your Own Writing**

This is a pretty thorough list, but if you have any to add, please do so in the comment section. The double-asterisks (**) are my own additions.

Happy reading er browsing, and then reading!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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Linen Laid & Felt — Utterly GORGEOUS Handmade Books

If you are a bibliophile who loves the physicality of books … their texture, weight, covers, smell, artistry, design … you MUST visit Linen Laid & Felt, a site hosted by handmade book artist, Katie Gonzalez. She describes herself this way:

I’m a cardigan-wearing bookbinder living and working in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband and my dog. I studied the art of bookmaking in Cortona, Italy during the summer of 2006. My work channels traditional techniques into bright, contemporary books that emphasize textures, colors, and patterns. Archival materials make these books — whether journals, photo albums, guest books, or sculptural expressions — into long-lasting works of art. I want to share my works in progress and the photography, sewing, printmaking, and other arts that inspire me.

This site is luscious and rich, even if you’re  not that into the whole bookbinding process. Take a look, and let Katie know if you like her stuff!

Happy page-turning!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog, Write| Market | Design.

Read Full Post »

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