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Archive for June, 2012

What comes after “the end”?

Today is the last day of our little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 28 writing prompt:

What are you going to do to keep the blogging momentum going? What plans do you have to continue your connection with other Author Blog Challenge participants?

I already addressed the better part of this question in today’s post on the Author Blog Challenge site, but I’ll try to put a little different spin on it here.

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey points out that we must begin with the end in mind. I, of course, had a number of ends in mind when I started the blog challenge:

  1. Bring a group of interesting authors together and give them fodder to grow their blogs, improve their SEO, and enhance their Web presence.
  2. Help establish myself as a leader in the “book marketing for self-publishing authors” industry.
  3. Meet new people.
  4. Have some fun.

#1? Check. #2? Check. #3? Check. #4? Check.

I also knew logically that the Author Blog Challenge would end in just 28 days, but I had no idea how much of my focus I would devote to it over those four short longest weeks of my life. And while this installment is now complete, the goal is for the Author Blog Challenge to become a semi-annual event, so it’s not really done. Nevertheless, now that I will have a bit of down time and breathing room, it’s time to seriously consider what’s next.

It’s been fascinating to read the Challenge participants’ comments about their plans for keeping motivated and staying in touch. Some expressed an interest in continuing to hang out in cyberspace. To them, I say, “Go for it!” The Facebook group will remain open and I will continue to post on the Author Blog Challenge site, although I will likely pull that back to just once or twice a week. In the short term, I’m going to take a break for a while and attend to some other areas that have been a bit neglected over this last month.

Never one to sit idle, however, I pitched the idea of a collaborative fiction project and so far have had a dozen folks express interest. I have some great ideas about how that will go – but we’ll have a powwow about it in a week or two to see what the others think. In the meantime, I’m following Hollywood’s lead and simply referring to it as the Unnamed Collaborative Fiction Project.

I also made the decision today that I will again participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, which begins July 1. At first I thought, Are you freaking crazy?! You’re just recovering from the HUGE responsibility of running a challenge. Take a break, woman! Then I realized we’re talking one post per day, not three – and no admin work. Piece of cake!!

It’s been a privilege and honor to run the Author Blog Challenge. Thanks to Marcie’s regular readers for hanging in there with us! Thanks to the new readers, subscribers, and commenters for your input, as well. Our regularly scheduled programming should resume shortly…

Happy resting –

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

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“How are you making money at this Blog Challenge stuff?”

For just 2 more days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 27 writing prompt:

What has been the best part of participating in the Author Blog Challenge? What are your suggestions for improving the next Author Blog Challenge?

Talk about a softball question. The best part of creating the Author Blog Challenge has been seeing such an amazing group of people get together to support each other and grow in their knowledge about their books and the publishing process. I’m compiling a list of testimonials from within the posts and the comments – will be sending them around to ask for participants’ OK to use them to promote the Challenge. Of course, if anyone would like to write something specific, that’d be gratefully accepted as well.

Things I’d do differently next time? First and foremost, look at my calendar a little more closely!

Had an interesting conversation with my husband’s grandmother at the end of Week 1 of the Author Blog Challenge. She wouldn’t know a blog if it bit her on the ass, but she did ask me how I’m making money at this. Hmmmm… what an interesting, thoughtful, and provocative question. I’ll make tons of money when all these fantastic authors hire me to edit their books and/or help them with marketing! And if and when that happens, it will be great.

But the better way I see of taking Grandma’s challenge to heart (“You’d better find a way to make some money on it before you start the next one!”) is by offering and soliciting sponsorships. Yeah, yeah, yeah – you anti-marketing types may not like the idea. But this was a labor of love, and Grandma’s right: next time I need to get compensated for it. Not sure what form the sponsorships will take just yet – if you have any ideas, please kick them my way!

Also, will definitely hire a VA to handle the nitty-gritty details, like the registrations and tracking who blogged when.

Another challenge in which I participated used Google Groups instead of Facebook for tracking the posts. I considered this, but rejected it because it’s just another extra step. I’m on Facebook every day. For the Google Groups, I had to go there deliberately and it just felt cumbersome to me. I realize that not every author on the planet is on Facebook – but for now, I think I’m going to stick with this format. Again – if you have any ideas, please put them in the Comments section below!

Overall, I think things went well. I really enjoyed hosting and getting to know all of the participants. I’d like to grow the next Challenge to 200 participants, so please help me spread the word! I know that certain people felt the marketing was overdone, but I’m inclined to stick with it – in part because it’s my niche, but also because I know you can’t sell books without it. By the time most of my clients come to me, their books are done – or about to be done – so I don’t really address the writing process very much. There are plenty of others who focus on that, so if you’re looking for an emphasis on the writing process, I encourage you to go find the myriad blogs and challenges and groups and experts who can help you.

In our down time – and at a much more relaxed pace – the Author Blog Challenge participants who choose to will be joining me in a collaborative writing project. Just so you know – this isn’t just for fun. We’re gonna publish this baby and split the proceeds, so make sure you bring your A game! If you want to learn more or participate, drop me an email: collabfiction@writemarketdesign.com.

Thanks to all who’ve participated, even marginally. It’s been a great ride, and I look forward to doing it again – albeit for just 14 days – in December!

Happy resting –

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

Questions and more questions are coming up next…

For the next 3 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 26 writing prompt:

What is/will be the subject of your next book?

Of course you’ll find it difficult to believe that I – the person who scheduled the start of my work with a political campaign to overlap directly with running the Author Blog Challenge – would ever take on too much. I’ve been working at putting on the back burner the ideas that don’t need attention right away in order to focus on the things that take priority now.

To that end, this question of the next book feels hazy and challenging and makes me very sleepy. Nevertheless, it’s a question any publisher will ask you, so I’ll do my best to answer it here.

I have two streams of thought on this idea of a next book. The first is to take the 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women and break them down into smaller booklets, according the broader categories into which the questions already are organized. I could then target specialty groups with each booklet, like Passion Parties with the sex and relationship questions; women’s finance groups with the money questions; and moms’ groups with the parenting questions.

As I write this, I realize I find that idea somewhat boring, which is probably the reason I didn’t break the book into categories in the first place. However, if I can go outside my own entertainment considerations for a minute, there may be some real marketing sense to it. Ah-ha: outsourcing! I’ll find someone to handle it and reap all the passive income rewards. I can live with that.

The second idea I have is to create a following for this book – yes, I realize that means I must first focus on sales – and then create a Volume 2, subtitled Questions from the Readers. Invariably when I talk to new people about the book, they try to pose topics or questions they bet I haven’t covered. About 50 percent of the time, I’ve asked the specific question they’re thinking of. But often, even if I’ve addressed the general topic, I haven’t come at it from the perspective they have in mind. And I say it right there in the book – there’s no way it captures EVERY potential situation. So there’s lots of room to do a volume 2. Maybe we’ll stop at 500½ Questions from the Readers. This one sounds much more fun to compile.

Both go on the back burner … for now.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

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Today, we’re proud to share with you another GUEST POST! If you’ve ever [or never] considered the possibility of having your book translated into other languages, there’s great info here for you! Please read up and glean some valuable advice from Lisa Carter, a professional literary translator! Please share your thoughts below in the comments section.
Author Blog Challenge post to follow!

The 5 W’s of Having Your Book Translated

by Lisa Carter

So you’ve written and published a book. Have you ever then considered having that book translated into one or more languages? If you have, but never made it past the thinking stage because you’re not sure how to proceed, this post is for you.

Below are the 5 W’s – the who, which, when, where, and why – that will help you on your way.

WHY should you consider translation?

Beyond the bragging rights and real marketing benefits from saying your book has been translated into x languages, there are two main reasons to consider translation.

  1. Your words will reach a wider audience. We write and publish in order to be read. It is only through translation that you can reach readers around the world.
  2. You can earn passive income. You’ve already put the hard work into writing your book, let it bring additional earnings through publication in other markets.

WHERE do you find a translator?

Translation is a form of writing that requires time, skill and a good measure of art if it is to be done well.

Professional associations offer the best place to find a qualified translator. The American Translators Association (ATA) and the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) are U.S.-based but have an international membership, with nearly every language represented.

If you start with a Google search for translators, the top hits will be free online machine translation engines, large agencies, and freelance bidding sites in that order. Avoid all three.

The technology behind machine translation is far from advanced enough for any publication purposes, and while the latter two are valid options for many types of translation, I do not recommend them for books.

With an agency, you pay needlessly for a middleman who will shield you from direct contact with the actual translator. Quality and consistency of the work may also suffer, as large projects are often divided among several individuals.

Freelance bidding sites, meanwhile, tend to view translation as a commodity. The lowest price usually wins and, more often than not, this goes hand-in-hand with a distinct lack of quality.

WHO should translate your book?

The unique nature of every title and every author means there is no one-size-fits-all. You may want to converse with several candidates before making a final decision. Trust will be essential in this professional relationship; not knowing the language your book is being translated into means you will need to feel confident in the translator’s abilities and choices.

Apart from that, keep in mind that:

  • Translators work from their second language into their mother tongue. I, for example, lived in Spanish-speaking countries for a decade but am a native English speaker. I therefore translate from Spanish into English and not vice-versa.
  • Translators have areas of expertise, just like writers. If your ebook is on marketing techniques, try to find someone who has experience in that industry, not someone who is specialized in medicine.
  • Translators can be certified by a professional association. Those who invest the time and expense involved in passing a rigorous certification exam like the one offered by the ATA are more likely to have the necessary skills to do your work justice.

WHICH books are good candidates for translation and which languages should you consider?

All books are possible candidates for translation, just as they are for publication. Different genres and publishing formats, however, may have varying levels of acceptance or availability in particular countries. You or your translator may want to research how popular your genre is in the target culture. Crime fiction, for example, is extremely popular in Scandinavia, while fantasy is more popular in China.

If you are considering digital publication only, note that ebooks are not yet as pervasive in all countries as they are in the U.S. In Russia, for example, they represent only 0.25 percent (one-quarter of one percent) of all sales and face enormous challenges before they will become truly viable.

One aspect in your favor is that translations are much more widely accepted internationally than they are North America. In countries like the Czech Republic, 80 percent of all new works of literature published each year are translations. You, thankfully, do not have to face the situation most foreign authors face when trying to break into our market, where only 3 percent of all new books published each year are works in translation.

 WHEN is a good time to have your book translated?

It is entirely up to you, as the author, when to have your book translated. Perhaps you would like a simultaneous release in two or three languages. This will allow you to capitalize on the time you spend marketing. On the other hand, you may want to stagger the release. This will give you an opportunity to find the right translator, and the translator can similarly be assured that your work has a certain track record in the original language.

Keep in mind that, translation cannot be rushed. It takes time to produce a full first draft, which then needs a certain amount of time before revision.

Regardless of whether your book is a new release or was published some time ago, translation is an opportunity to breathe new life into it and earn more from it. Here’s hoping these answers help set you on your way to publication in other languages!

Lisa Carter is a Spanish-to-English literary translator, with six published titles and a seventh forthcoming in 2013. She was nominated for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for her translation of The Einstein Enigma: A Novel, by José Rodrigues Dos Santos. You can find Lisa on her professional website at www.intralingo.com, where she blogs about literary translation and offers an occasional Advice for Authors column. You can also follow her on Twitter at @intralingo.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Never too many thank you’s

For the next 4 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 25 writing prompt:

Time for some shout-outs. This may mimic your acknowledgement page, but whom would you like to publicly thank for their help in creating your book or completing it to the point where it is presently?

As many books as I’ve read in my life, I’ve never really been one to read the acknowledgments. Perhaps it’s because they all sound the same: To my husband/wife/SO for their support. To the kids for giving me time to write. To my agent/attorney/publicist for believing in me. To  my editor for making my words mine, but better. Blah-blah-blah. It’s not that it’s unimportant to thank people – I could write PAGES on the importance of gratitude and the role it’s played in my life. I just don’t have a whole lot of interest in an author I don’t know thanking a whole raft of other people I don’t know.

I’m much more interested in watching the credits of a film than I am in reading the acknowledgments in a book – if only because I’m working on a screenplay and enjoy seeing how many people it takes to put a movie together. It’s also interesting to start to notice the same names popping up in secondary (to most people’s way of thinking) areas, like casting.

When I sat down to write out my own list of thank-you’s for my book, I realized that there weren’t just one or two folks to thank. I did, of course, start with my mom and dad. But then there were my sisters (one of whom I cherish, and one of whom I haven’t seen since my mom’s funeral last August); my niece; Sr. Laurian, my sixth-grade English teacher; Fr. Renna, my senior HS English teacher; Nancy Mairs, my favorite college professor; and Scott White, my personal trainer, who encouraged me every day I worked with him. And as I thought of each of those, I thought of 10 more people. Eventually, it came down to a decision to either list them all or list none of them. I opted for list them all.

Here’s the Thank You page from my book, recreated as-is, here. Of course, I’ve probably met more people in the last 6 or 7 years than in the previous 38 all put together, and not everyone from the last couple of years has necessarily made it onto this version yet. If I met you and you impacted my life, please know you belong on this list.

THANK YOU!

This book did not come into being in a vacuum. Rather, it is an accumulation of all the steps of my life, each of those steps eventually leading me to where I am today. The following list mentions those most significant to me along my journey. I have lost touch with many of the people named here – others have departed this world. But all affected my life, if even in some small way – and because of their influence, I have become the person I am today. To each of these and all who have touched my life in any way, I say thank you.

Mom & Dad • Ann Rendon • Corina Orsini • Samantha Rose Wood • Dolores Diaz • Marta Glueck • Michael Glueck • Rita Lettner • Arthur Orsini • Fr. Frank Orsini • Carmen Perez • Silveria RendonHortencia Reyes • Loretta Roldan • Joe Torres • Jimmy • James • Chip • Mrs. Gore • Kenny • Loretta, Steve, Bill, Mike, Tim, & Dave • Mr. & Mrs. DavisNick, Edith, & Jimmy Ruccolo • Steve Bowers • Tony Blanco • Janine, Mary, & Dan Piatkowski • Jimmy Adams • Chris Bishop • Marvin Brooks • Stephen Davis • Brian Hiers • Susan Finnerty • Kathy Freeman • Leslie Gugliamo • Kelly Jordan • James Lewis • Michelle Mangosing • Manuel Romero • Jerry Moudy • Paula Myscow • Carol Pachek • Chene Valdez • Darrell Stettmeier • Jeff Walker • Cindy Brown • Eddie Perez • Matt Korp • Chris Winters • Brian DeLong • Brian HolderAndrea Piña • Cindy Purigraski • Stephanie Sanchez • Sr. Laurian • Fr. Murray Phalen • Sr. Cecily • Sr. Augusta • Mrs. Hillman • Miss King • Roberta Kase • Therese Martin Portman • Christine Mollitch • Mrs. Vales • Dr. Tan • Ron, the orthodics guy • Mrs. Galia • Pat O’Friel • Mrs. Partridge • Linda Pilon • Fr. Anton Renna • Emily Wolf • Lisa Pflaum Regalado •NHS racquetball crew: Mike, Herman, Phil, Gilbert, WeeGan, etc. • Jane Oh Kim • James Kim • Troy Newman • Toby Newman • Anthony Gimino • Marie, Rich, & Rich Jr. Gimino • David Baker • Jon Lazar • Diana • Mark Macumber • Keith Manning • Mary Greene • Rich Wilner • Maria Bongiovi • Kathy Crook • Gregg Derr • Matt Dudek • Beth Frketich • Mary Fitzpatrick • Margot Fuentes • Christine Glass • Colleen Koors • Doria Kryzwicki • John Cooper • Lisa Munninger • Anne Marie Kuban • Patty McDermott • Eddie Meehan • Matt Mnichowicz • Kay Philippakis • Dave L. • Debbie Riebe • Stacey Seaman • Chris Stevens • Cory Sullivan • Tom • Leslie • Vickie Laramie • Pat • Marylou Bessette • Jerry Smith • Chris Hogan • Jayne Tucker O’Sullivan • Tom O’Sullivan • Shirley, Tim, & Mike Tucker • Dawn • Bobbie Jo Buel • Steve & Edith Auslander • Elaine Raines • Mike Downs • Gawain Douglas • Fred Araiza • Nancy James Baetz • Keith Bagwell • Joyce Bertschy • Erin & Zach • Al Bravo • Patty Brest • Marlene Dekker • Judi Erickson • Dave & Johanna Eubank • David Koen • Steffennie Fedunak • Tom Frankman • Tom & Christia Gibbons • Linda Gutierrez • Collette Bancroft • Donine Henshaw • Susan Knight • Rick Gary • Javier Morales • Scott Peterson • Joe Salkowski • Kristin Cook • Mari Schaefer • Ron Somers • Angela Soto • Sid & Elena • Miles Standish • Mike Tucker • Betty Johnson Wittenberg • Maureen • Lynn Zacek Kosmata • Johnny Kosmata • Brian Carlson • Mary Biel Haney • David Haney • Ed Quigley • Payton Bissell • Eric Wakatani • Richard Karsk • Mari Olsen • Tamzen Smith • John Whetzel • Andi, Chris, & Rick • Jim & Matt • Nancy Mairs • Homer Petty • Richard Shelton • Fr. Robert Burns • UA Newman Center folks • Fr. Bede • Fr. Nathan • Fr. David • Sr. Dominic • Joan Canty • Bernardo Quinteros • Anthony Lewis • Dale & Diane Lewis • Wendee Lewis Dunlap • Mike Balk • David Wood • Sean, the car rental guy • Ken Bolden • Barbara Vaccaro • George Rossi • Manja Agnese • Susan Berdel • Kevin Boyle • Debbie • Carolyn Weiss Clayton • Fran Bresnan • Anne Chan • Joe Buscemi • Maryanne Glassen • Doreen Ciccone • Ray Jacobs • Tamara Jones • Amy Lehman • Barbara Muller • Jessica • Karen Oak • LuAnn Osterhoudt • Elizabeth Painter • Peggy Perry • Lori Rose • Alison Richards • Luisa Rossillo • Jen Seibert • Christine Sweeney • Juliet Campbell • Chris Fuller • Victoria Worthington • Joanie • Wayne • Sam by the ferry dock • Tom Ferriter • Pete Kelegian • Debbie Carver • Nancy Clark • Peggy Scriva • David Oakes • Miguel Trelles • Patty Jordan • Carlo • Stephanie Regalia • Bev Simonelli • Christine • John • Nadine • Silvio • Stephanie • Everyone from the CWT Washington D.C. office • Kathy, Bruce, & Jill Eric • Mary Weidenborner • Anna Sank • All the Spence-Chapin folks • Every adoptive parent or prospective adoptive parent I ever spoke with • Judy Link • Judi Greene • Sandy Ripberger • Kathy Legg • All the Spence birthmoms • Dr. George McQuilkin • Terry • Nursing staff at St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken • Kirk Rule • Jayson Berkshire • Nick Firoozye • Nathan Hosner • Janet Eng • LauraAnne Pafundi • Mickie Thomas • Jim Dykema • WFC cleaning ladies • Patricia Anderson • Peggy Arciero • Kathy Paulik • Karin Anderson • Howard Ponzer • Lynn Franklin • Arianne Anthony • Anne Harvey • Lisa Venezia • Maryl Tolge Darko • Fr. Albert Felice-Pace • Candace Rondeaux • Barry Stein • Tim • Carl • Leo Sanchez • Cheryl • Floyd • Scott • Krista Knight • Tom Poindexter • James Macumber • Brian Carey • Julian Altbush • Fr. Vic Kennedy • the Blanchards • Lady at the hotel in Colorado Springs who asked me about reading a map • Old lady who always rode the bus and PATH train between JC and the WTC • Homeless man in JC who ran when I approached him • Ed, my mechanic • Claire Behun • Evie & Reilly Carpenter • Emilio Ruiz • Sam & Will Falconer • Nevada Gellerman • Little Annette Ruiz • Alex Stuart • Marshall & Tayler Tucker • Lucas Turner • Mariah Yaeger • Anna, Courtney, Lindsay, & Melissa • Alan Jones • Lori Hart • Karen Estrada • Rick Reeker • Satwant Singh Khalsa • Jaswant Khalsa • Karen Paxton • Susan Richie • Susan McGinn • Jeff Finley • Mary Castro • Nick DiCarlo • Leo Beus • Joanne Brooks • Hopi Castaneda • Tammy Cole • Laurie Craig • Patty Crawford • Tina Daniels • Stephanie DeBuhr • Sherry Delgado • Paul Gilbert • Jim Harrison • Kim Jackowski • Eric Kamps • Christine Jones • Tim Kasparek • Kevin Kushner • Carol Moore • Jen Parkinson • Joe Pierce • Beth Pleskovitch • Dave Rodgers • Quint Seamons • Karen Stoll • Karen Sullivan • Nancy Swanner • Christine Taradash • Donna Walla • Gordon Wasson • Anne Way • Brit Worthen • the Mr. Janitor folks • Sara at TOC • All the kids I taught as a sub • Brad Benson • Aimee Brown • Brian Becker • Marc Scremin • Keith, Mary, & Marylou • Eric Gagnon • John Taylor • Luke & Holly Taylor • Bruce • Bruno • Jon • Matthew • Larry • All the guys from my Personal Ad-Ventures • Oh Family • Anderson Family • Pachek Family • Healy Family • Kathy Spade • Cami Brown • • Julia Baldazan • Lori Carter • Barbara Jones • Gretchen Goldstein • Gina Abate • Heather Homuth • Doris & Lew • Pastor Eric • Patricia Bolivar • Steve Avery • Mary Ann • George Rodriguez • Georgie, Nick, Adrian • Ruth Strauss • David Brown • Kerrell & Matt Farmelant • Landis • Jason Sanchez • Tim Gartland • Ken Conditt • Melissa Ward • Kevin • D-Backs ticket office/others: Adrian, Ann, Barbara, Chris, Christina, Christy, Craig, Cree, Darren, David, Devan, Finn, Helen, Jeanette, Joan, Joslyn, Karla, Kelly, Kendi, Kenny, Kirk, Luis, Manny, Marsha, Mary, Monique, Nancy, Natalie, Neely, Nita, Paula, Rob, Roger, Rowena, Ryan, Sarah B., Sarah P., Scott, Stacey, Susan, Syd, Tiffanie, the security guys, etc. • Annette Alvarez • Debra Davenport • Linda Herold • Lisa Platt • Heather Hudak • Vickie Mullins • Elizabeth Gannon • Yuri Haglund • Robin & Tony Muscia • Sally Baker • Vickie Champion • Justin • Baron Benham • Candace Robles • St. Theresa 6 p.m. Choir • Fr. Chuck Keiffer • Petra Boham • Ira Hayden • Connie & Jerry Kadansky • Steve Dawson • Patty & Paul • Ellen & Dan Gardner • Andrew Rulon • Everyone at Arizona Pathways: Donnie, Dan, Calli, Brooks, Northern, Kenny, Khrista, Jim, Eddie, Cadillac, Mike Y., Mike A., Adam, Patrick, David, James • Sherrie Fischer • Dave Lastinger • Deborah Wellborn • Chris Kyselka • Michelle Gillenwater • Sandy Rogers • Maruice Guinouard • Joanne Tedesco • Holly Lorant Dobbs & Jimmy Dobbs • Donna Tucker • Cecilia Cusimano • Lucinda Lintz • Sue Shipman • Kas Winters • Peggy Rostron • Dyane Welt • Lorraine Festa • Gary Gilbertson • Jessica Gunawan • Janet Magno • Matt Lowry • Jen Pfister • Paula Dawson • Mark Maxon • Mary Edmonds • Jessie • Linda Crone • Gina Keating • Allison Parker • Sandy Grimalauskso • Victor Lopez • Clorrie Smith • Thaedwood Smith • Amy, Lori, Dave, John, Ron & Mary • Steve • AJ • Jackie Hill • Candace Burton • Richard Dance • Suzanne Koivun • Raleigh Pinskey • Scott White • Ryan Johnson • William Nelson • Tara Godfrey • Kathleen Hudson • Matt Moran • Jim Norman • Buck O’Neil • Mike Salomon • Jacie Carter • Breah Parker • Lorraine DeLeon • Chris LaMont • Dave Cornelius • Norma Earl • Janet Maxwell • Toni Verso • Betsy Ingram • Sam Sites • Gilat Ben-Dor • Helen Kazemi • Lynn Ehmann • Janet Shanney • Nicole Bolde • Candace Lappe • Sherree Mongrain • Linda Leibl • Meryl Runion • Kasten Spethmann • Kim Hollenback • Lori Grobe • Barbara Sparrgrove • Sue Flaig • Ruth Breen • Sue C. • Ann Williamson • Rebecca Joy • Lou Hunt • Pam Hillyer • Irene Conlan • Ken Lettner • Emil Orsini • All the staff at the Phoenix Adult Day Care Center • All the angels from Hospice of the Valley • Fr. Ernest Larkin • Todd Smith • Norma Strange • Selena Pepe • Stephanie Shaw • Shari Gacksatter • Ted Herbig • Steve Vinson • Teel McClanahan • Ramsey Carpenter • Dr. Ed • Wendy Kenney • Lana Leslie • Harold Wong • Therese Skelly • Mitzi Lynton • Ron Peer • Jody Owen • Lindy Lutz Cash • Barbara Bengtsson • Pam Gaber & Gabriel • Mara DeFilippis • Lynn Paige • Jim Gordon • Karen Levine • Dan Levine • Anna Weber • Arleen Holtz • Michele Pariza Wacek • Cindy Wilson • Donna Bochow • Gina Van Luven • Sherry Fragosa • Dave Barnhart • Kim & Craig Jolly • Rick Sanchez • Phil Singleton • Chip Lambert • Eileen Proctor • Eileen Roth • Patricia Drain • Debbie Allen • Johnny G • David Hepburn • Lynn Rose • Bill Gluth • Jeremy Tuber • Doug Hibbard • Bill Strain • Jack Alspaugh • George Fleming • Steve & Carol Weber • Joel Block • Ken & Judy Foster • Eric Lofholm • Arvee Robinson • Melanie Benson Strick • Ray DuGray & Maria Ngo • Brendan Burchard • Matt Mannino • Adam Urbanski • Peter Montoya • Adora Spencer • Greg S. Reid • Tom Antion • Dave Lakhani • James Ray • Norma Hollis • Beth Schneider • Declan Dunn • Donna Fox • John DiMartini • James Malinchak • Stephanie Frank • Jeanette Cates • Kendall Summerhawk • Linda Hollander • Noah St. John • Lynn Pierce • Audrey Hagen • Tom Justin • Linne Bourget • Jack Lindsley • Kent Rini • Vincent Kellsey • Howard Teibel • Jay Hare • Allan Sabo • Tina Kennedy • Ryan Chester • Annie Loyd • Becky Breitweiser • Jodi Powers • Michelle Corr • Rose Winters • Bill Soroka • Terri Mansfield • Elleyne Kase • Tammy Holmes • Mollie Kidari • Krylyn Peters • Bill Greaves • Rob Nye • Patricia Brooks • Kebba Buckley Button • Ron Button • James Casey • Jeannette Chaplin • Jen Blackert • Jenn Kaye • Kathleen Hudson • Anna “Banana” Kruchten • Gary Houghtaling • Karen Watts Edwards & Bill Edwards • Helen Goldman • Kay Fulkerson • Jason Wong• Pam Donison • Janice Plado Dalager • Ben Cruz • Jennifer Furrier • Melissa Rose • Jenny Dickason • Steve & Resa Ferreira • Lisa Albinger • Vicki Christensen • Mike Hayashi • Kelly Damron • Laura Bank Witte • Karen Kibler • Leon Gildin • Daniel & Ryan • Barbara Chavarria • Beth Kozan • Carol Hogan • Tom Otstot • Sunil Ahuja • Brad Taft • Dana Ball • Suzanne Muusers • Anne Morris • Ann Terhark • Charlie Pascu• Tom Mozilo • Emily • Joey Sampaga • Linda Hall • John & Rebecca • Richard Garrard • Tom C • Dane Treat • Michael Niall • Michael & Suzie Goldstein • Brandon Oliver • Mark Cohen • Diane Busey-Bird• Teresa Cole • Steve von Ehrenkrook • Marc Hampson • Debbie Meyers • David Bell • Christine Pekrul • Debbie Black • Helen Pugh • Jeff Haebig • Linda Sloan • Tammy Smith • Brian Renner • Mark Brezinsky • Tom Buckhardt • Michele Elizabeth • Lara • Ginger • Brian • Samuel N. Asare • Ken & Laura Speer • Judy & Earl Corkett • Penni Honey • Gary Webb • Shivaun Sullivan • Gina Canardo • Charlie Jones • Shawn Armenta • Titus • Tommie Jones • John Rice • Paul Force • Guy Batty • Jane Dominguez • Rick • Karen Langston • Kevin Mogavero • Ashley Szczesiak • Brian • Peter • Sheri Nordstrom Scott & Chuck Scott • Tina Sacchi • Glenn Mark • Frannie Barrientos • Ginna Hoff • Heather Barr • Betina Frisone • Barbara Powers • LynnRae Ries • Matt Bustos • Teddiye Walton • Tunde Negron • John & Gayle Kelemen • Mary Kelemen • Gayle, Ed, & Charlotte Snible • John Kelemen, the love of my life • Me •

One very special shout-out goes to Judy Corkett, my friend who embraced my book from the first moment she heard about it, helped me get its launch off the ground, and encouraged my earliest marketing efforts. She was a godsend and I appreciate every moment she nudged me in a forward direction.

While I don’t think it needs to be done in the front matter of your book, this seems to me to be a worthy exercise for almost anyone to undertake – if not to make a literal list, but to simply realize that every person we meet, however fleeting, has a story and impacts our story. Thanks to all of those who’ve helped me on my way.

In gratitude!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

Are you employing the 8 components of a successful book business?

For the next 5 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 24 writing prompt:

If your goal is to sell books, you must view your book as a business. In what ways do you treat your book as a business? Where could you improve? What resources could you leverage to improve your book business?

Virtually every successful business has a business plan – a roadmap, if you will, of where they are now and where they plan to go. This is no different for your book business. We’re often told that the best plans will contain some most of the following elements:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Overview
  • Description of Products and Service
  • Market and Industry Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Development Plan
  • Management Plan
  • Company’s Competitive Advantage
  • Financial Plan
  • Funding
  • Appendices

But a business plan need not be long or elaborate to be complete. My friend, business coach Suzanne Muusers, has developed a 2-page mini business plan system that cuts the clutter and helps you get to the heart of the matter: understanding what your business does, where you want it to go, and how you plan to get there.

7 other crucial pieces of your book business include:

Branding.

If there’s ever a professional who needs to cultivate a personal brand, it’s an author. According to personal branding specialist, Peter Montoya:

Your personal brand is the powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind whenever other people think of you. It’s what you stand for—the values, abilities and actions that others associate with you. It’s a professional alter ego designed for the purpose of influencing how others perceive you, and turning that perception into opportunity. It does this by telling your audience three things:

1.  Who you are

2.  What you do

3.  What makes you different, or how you create value for your target market

A website.

Your website needs to reflect your brand and make it possible for your audience to access you and your products. I plan in the near future to hire Suzanne’s husband, Dana Ball, a brilliant, creative designer, to revamp my website. Dana gave my book cover a thumbs-up, which made me ever-so proud.

A method of e-commerce.

The only way you can collect money for your book is by having some method of e-commerce installed on your website. While PayPal is widely used and accepted, if you’ve got more than one or two titles, you may still want to look into a shopping cart service.

Distribution channels.

The point of writing a book is getting it out into the world. This most likely means distribution beyond your website. Whether it’s an eBook or a traditionally printed book, you’ve got to have a way of disseminating it. This might be through Amazon, BookBaby, Smashwords, Lightning Source, or some other channel. The point is that if you want as many people as possible to have access to your book, you’ve got to employ a source (or sources) to do that for you.

An e-mail list.

The heart and soul of any online business is its list – the people to whom you will market your current and future books. Developing a list is an important activity you must master if you intend to be a successful Internet merchant.

A CRM system (customer relationship management).

Realtors and mortgage folks seem to be masters at CRM – but cultivating and managing relationships with the people on your list is essential for any author who takes the business side of things seriously. This means knowing who bought what when, how they found you, whether their preference is for eBooks or printed titles, to name just a few.

A team.

As a self-publishing author, you may at times feel like your team is just one person: you. As I wrote in a January 2012 post:

It’s quite common for a new author to take that precipitous dive into self-publishing only to realize, even after a fair amount of research, that there’s a LOT involved. And it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. I think a good part of the overwhelm comes from the erroneous belief that you’ve got to “go it alone.” It’s not much of a stretch to make the analogy between a self-publishing author and a general contractor, if, as careers.stateuniverity.com explains, a general contractor’s job is to “coordinate and supervise the work at construction sites from early development to final product.”

* * *

Well, if there are so many people involved, how can you possibly be going it alone? Ask any leader who feels that it truly is lonely at the top. Hiring people – or contracting for their services – doesn’t mean you necessarily view these individuals as members of your team, and that’s a key component to not going it alone. Sure you’re in charge – but are the folks tasked with components of your book making and marketing simply people you’re paying, or are they members of your team who are equally invested in your success?

Yeah, you wrote a book and thought you were done. As one Author Blog Challenge participant put it, “Writing the book was the easy part. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this marketing stuff.”

The good news is that you can sell a lot of books on your own if you set up your book business properly from the start. Will it take time? Yes – probably more time than you think you can afford to give. Will it take determination? Boatloads. Will it take some marketing savvy and computer skills? Yep – those are somewhat necessary to become a successful online bookseller. Can you do it? I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes – you can do it. Decide you want it. Make a plan. And implement.

Happy bookselling!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

Reiner reassmebles ‘Friends’ cast to star in “1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women”

For the next 6 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 23 writing prompt:

If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it? Write the first paragraph of Roger Ebert’s review of your film.

Yup – I have only myself and my overactive imagination to blame. It was easy enough to compose these prompts when they were theoretical questions to be posed to participants out there somewhere. Deciding to answer all of them has stretched me, mostly in a good way, as I’m sure it has many of the Author Blog Challenge participants.

When it comes to the Hollywood version of 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women, I have to go back to the prompt related to fictionalizing a nonfiction book.

I suppose the best way to turn this book into fiction would be to create a VERY neurotic character who experienced every question at some point during the book. Wow – what a wicked bizarre life that poor woman would have! I suppose we could make her a little more stable by parceling out the oddities to her friends, family members, coworkers, and annoying boss – which is, in large part, where the questions came from in the first place. I certainly didn’t experience all of them!

I rather like the idea of having a fictional alter ego who could go to some of the places I was willing to explore hypothetically but have never dived into in real life. Hmmm … screenplay fodder. I’ll have to put it on the back burner to let it simmer awhile.

So, here we are, a whole 2 weeks later. So much for the “awhile” part. OK, so let’s play along with the prompt. First, you have to know that I’m as severe a movie critic as you’ll ever meet, but romantic comedies are my guilty pleasure.

Directors Short List

In thinking about directors, I’ve got to go back to movies I’ve enjoyed. First there’s Anne Fletcher, who directed one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies, 27 Dresses. However, she’s also responsible for the absolutely dreadful The Proposal. I don’t care which critics liked it or how well it did on RottenTomatoes.com – that movie was sheer garbage. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds were wasted on a plot that made women look like conniving shrews and men look like imbeciles. Betty White was the only saving grace. While the plot isn’t really Fletcher’s fault, she chose to make the film. Enough said.

Next up, I have to consider Sharon Maguire, who directed Bridget Jones’s Diary, which I liked enough to watch 5 times the weekend I rented it. Nevertheless, I still can’t get past the absolute absence of chemistry between Renée Zellweger and the alleged love of Bridget’s life, Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy. It was after seeing this film that I first made my suggestion that casting directors do a chemistry test between their romantic leads so that during the passionate kiss, they don’t look like they’d rather be drinking poison. OK – I can’t blame Maguire for the chemistry problem. However, besides Bridget Jones, she’s only done one other film. All the rest of her credits are for TV. Moving on.

A film that definitely landed on my Pinterest Guilty Pleasures board was Runaway Bride, directed by the legendary Gary Marshall. Runaway Bride reprised the pairing of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, whom Marshall also directed in Pretty Woman. Sure, who doesn’t love the hooker with the heart of gold? But the further I get away from that film, the more and more distasteful I find it. Maturity or crankiness? Marshall also directed the film version of Frankie and Johnny. It was during that 1991 movie that I decided to pack up my life and move from Tucson to New York City! That … was a good and bad experience. Marshall also has a penchant for the holidays, directing both Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Not sure he’s the right guy for my neurotic gal.

Wait a minute. What’s my favorite movie of all time? Princess Bride! And look who directed it – the inimitable Rob Reiner, famous for also having directed When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men, The American President, The Story of Us, and The Bucket List – all of which I very much enjoyed. We have a winner!

Casting

As for casting – that one is easy. And predictable. But easy. Jennifer Anniston. Who knows – while we’re at it, why not reassemble the whole cast of Friends to bring to life all the foibles and frailties uncovered in my book?

Jennifer Anniston – Rachel.
#85. Have you ever asked a guy out – or do you always prefer for him to make the first move? Would you rather not date at all than have to be the one to do the asking?

Courtney Cox – Monica.
#561. Do you regularly do spring/fall cleaning?

Lisa Kudrow – Phoebe.
#36. Have you ever put a curse on anyone? Have you ever been cursed?

Matt LeBlanc – Joey.
#938. Did you watch Sesame Street as a child? Did/do your children watch it? Who is/was your favorite character?

Matthew Perry – Chandler.
#335. Do you ever give unsolicited advice? How do you react when offered unsolicited advice?

David Schwimmer – Ross.
#125. Have you figured out what you want to be when you grow up? How did you figure it out? As a child, did you have fantasies about any particular job/career? Does your career bear any resemblance to those dreams?

So there you have it. Rob Reiner directing the cast of Friends in 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women. How can it miss?!

Ebert Gives 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women a thumb WAY up!

Well, they turned Sex and the City into a film – with a sequel – so it was probably only a matter of time until the cast of Friends reassembled on the big screen. Did they recapture the magic? You bet! Led by the always charming Jennifer Anniston, Rob Reiner’s cast hit it out of the park with this delightful conversion of Laura Orsini’s 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women into a contemporary romantic comedy. Smart, witty, and willing to go places few comedies will even hint at, this film seems utterly at home delving into the intricacies of life as a 21st century American woman, all the while capturing the essence of the famed sitcom’s theme song:

I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, ‘cause you’re there for me too.

Your book as a movie. Seriously. Who directs it? Who’s in it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

A virtual event allows you to invite the world to your book launch

For the next 7 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 22 writing prompt:

Describe your first book signing – real or imagined.

Visions of grandeur danced in my head. The real thing – well, let’s say it was more down to earth. There were about 30 people at my “official” book launch – most good friends and family. I sold a couple dozen books and had a great conversation that ranged from spirituality to politics to political correctness – all topics covered in 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women. But it’s the virtual launch that was actually the more exciting event.

We did it via webinar using the GoToMeeting.com service. A few months prior to the launch (I recommend giving yourself 6 months at minimum), I put feelers out to a number of friends and colleagues to ask who had a digital product they were willing to offer on behalf of my launch (much like I did with the daily giveaways for the Author Blog Challenge). The goal was to create a win-win situation by pooling mailing lists to (a) give my colleagues greater exposure for their products and (b) vastly expand the event invitation list beyond those people on my list alone.

Of the 40 or so invitations I sent out to participate, I had about a dozen takers. I received donations of free consultations, eBooks, and online courses, all of which I discerned would be of interest and use to my audience:  college-educated women, ages 30 to 70, who were interested in personal grown and self-development.

Therese and Laura

I also extended invitations to several of the same people to participate as featured guests during the virtual launch. On the day of the event, my good friend Therese Skelly – life/business coach extraordinaire – acted as my emcee. We ran a PowerPoint presentation in the background with photos of Therese and my guests, Loretta Love Huff and Robin Damsky. It also contained pictures associated with several questions from the book. During the webinar, Therese interviewed me about the same topics I addressed in my live signing:

I, in turn, interviewed my guests about their responses to the book and how they saw it benefitting themselves and their clients. Afterward, the “attendees” were invited to ask questions of me and my guests. Then we did a pitch and sold more books! We made a recording of the whole thing, snippets of which I have and will continue to use for various marketing purposes.

The great thing about a virtual launch is that people from anywhere can attend. And if they have kids, pets, elderly parents, needy SOs, or are hermits, they’re more likely to visit your virtual launch because they don’t have to go anywhere!

Virtual Launch Success Tips

  • Start REALLY far in advance … like a minimum of 6 months.
  • Make a list of the people you know who might have something to offer.
  • Make it easy for them to participate by writing Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails that they can send to their list.
  • Realize that if you’ll have more than two guests participating on the virtual launch, schedules can get difficult to coordinate.
  • Plan a rehearsal in advance of the event with all the guest participants.
  • Promote, promote, promote!

Happy launching!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

Best advice to new authors: Learn to think like a MARKETER!

For the next 8 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 21 writing prompt:

What is the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received about the publishing process and/or would advice would you offer to a first-time author?

About 9 years ago, I met a man to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude for the success I’ve had in my business. I don’t even recall how we met, but he took an interest in me and took me under his eccentric wing to teach me everything he knew about marketing – which was considerable. He’d made a name for himself in the tech industry, building and selling a few companies from his base in Cincinnati, Ohio.

When he and his then-fiancée decided to move to Phoenix, he did his research. He jumped online and began exploring all the science, technology, and marketing groups and organizations in the Valley. He was looking, specifically, at their officers and boards of directors, paying particular note to the names that reappeared across multiple organizations. Those, he figured, were the people he’d most like to get to know once he moved here. So he called them up and set up meetings with them the week he arrived. Guess what? Instant network! Sure, he still had to do the happy hours and rubber-chicken lunches, too – but he arrived already “knowing” a few key players in his field. Smart guy? You bet.

And when it came to marketing, he was equally sharp. I used to tell people this guy could take a blank sheet of paper and see 27 marketing opportunities in it, where all I saw was a blank sheet of paper. The thing is, he had trained himself to think like a marketer. Eventually, after hanging out with him for a while, spending 3 days a week with my rock-star personal trainer, and joining a business development group called Shared Vision Network, I began to learn to think like a marketer, too.

I even borrowed a tagline to that effect from James Malinchak, a prolific (and profitable) speaker on the college circuit. When people ask for my USP or what makes me different from all the other editors and self-publishing consultants out there, I tell them that I specialize in teaching my authors to think like marketers.

And that’s the best advice I can offer any author – either a newbie or one who’s been around for a while but is not selling as many books as they’d like.

LEARN TO THINK LIKE A MARKETER.

When I started this blog, I did a number of pieces about mindset – because if we’re to succeed at any venture, the most important thing is having a success mindset. So first we’ve got to give ourselves permission to market our books! Then, we have to embrace marketing and study it like a scientist in a lab.

That means watching the TV ads instead of flipping past them. It means engaging the phone solicitors and door-to-door folks who still go around the neighborhoods. It means noticing Internet ads and listening to radio ads and reading the ads in magazines and newspapers. It means tuning in to the marketing messages that surround us daily, instead of tuning them out.

The reason for this is very simple: you will only become good at marketing when you become well-versed at it and know what works and what doesn’t work.

Ask my husband what a critic I am of TV commercials. But I’m an equal-opportunity critic: I will cheer a great ad as quickly as I boo a bad one. I saw a great print ad in a magazine during my accidental computer hiatus a couple weeks ago and made him stop what he was doing to listen while I read it to him. “So do you want me to go get you some mayonnaise now?” he asked at the end of it.

The good and bad news is that once you learn to think like a marketer, your marketer’s brain is always going. Sometimes you’ve got remind yourself to simply be in a situation, without sizing up the marketing potential for your community theatre group or the PTA at your kids’ school.

How good are you at thinking like a marketer?

Do you see the natural product or industry tie-ins for your book? Are you making a list of the groups and organizations that might be a natural fit? How about the holidays – are you paying attention to which seasons or specific holidays might lend themselves to special book promotions or contests?

Please understand, however, that thinking like a marketer does not give you carte-blanche to be that guy or that gal who does the Business Card Shuffle at networking events or tries to ply their book at every turn. If the opportunity arises, certainly you will mention your book. But you won’t go out of your way to create artificial (i.e., obnoxious) reasons to bring it up in every conversation.

Learn to think like a marketer. If you’re not there yet, have no fear. Go back and read Marcie’s blog from the beginning (OK, skip the ones that just aren’t for you … but I guarantee that it’s all quite scintillating material)! And begin paying attention. Notice when ads speak to you. What about them catches your attention? Pay attention to the products you purchase. Do you know why you buy the things you buy at the grocery store or why you purchase a particular brand of gasoline (petrol for you UK types) or clothing? Which blog headlines grab you? What do they have that others don’t? Which websites do you visit? Look for product placement in TV shows and movies. Ask yourselves how those products got there and let your mind wander to the ways you could create tie-ins for your book.

For instance, 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women has nearly 100 questions that deal in some way with the topic of sex, love, and/or romance. I think a book isolating those questions is a natural giveaway or promotion for a company like Passion Parties. (BTW, did you know there’s a blog called Christian Nymphos? Tagline: Married Sex: Spicy, the way God intended it to be!)

Book marketing is not rocket science. It requires creativity, patience, and a willingness to dive in. What are you waiting for?

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

Continuity of branding across all your social media platforms is essential

For the next 9 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 20 writing prompt:

How are you using social media to promote your book? What aspect of social media would you like to learn more about? What are your next steps?

When you’re writing the prompts for a first-time blog challenge, you go with your instinct. That’s why there tends to be some overlap on a few of the questions, like the one about platform and the one about social media.

Interestingly, there’s been some pushback from a few authors that the prompts are too focused on marketing, but I stand by my claim that without marketing, your chances of selling books to anyone other than those in your immediate circle is greatly diminished. Authors “get tired of thinking about marketing” at their own peril. Sure, we want to do our creative thing and write our books – but let’s put at least equal energy to marketing creativity, shall we?

Social media, while not a marketing strategy in and of itself, is a component of marketing that smart authors are using to their own best advantage. According to Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, “Social is foremost a philosophy, not a set of behaviors.” In a recent podcast on Marketing Profs, Baer went on to explain that companies (or authors) miss the mark when they try to “do” social. What they need to focus on instead is being social. “The more personal, visceral, and human the story, the harder it is to outsource [content creation]. … Taking your product brochure (or book) and turning it into a series of blog posts isn’t going to be effective. Content is fire, and social media is gasoline. The easiest way to be successful in social is to be social about content,” Baer said in the podcast.

What does that mean to us, as authors? Just what it sounds like. We need to get busy being social.

SOCIAL [soh-shuhl] adjective

(1) pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations; (2) seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious; (3) of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society; (4) living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation; (5) of or pertaining to human society, especially as a body divided into classes according to status.

MEDIA [mee-dee-uh] noun

(1) plural of medium; (2) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely. Usually used with a plural verb.

SOCIAL MEDIA is content created by its consumers. Copy, images, video, music … whatever the form the content takes, it is created by the users, as opposed to traditional media in which the entire purpose of the organization (i.e., company) was the creation and distribution of content to an audience.

One of the most important things about an author’s social media promotion is continuity of branding. It is essential that authors take full advantage of all the personalization available and use the same branding across every platform.

1001RLQFW Blog

When it comes to employing social media to promote 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women, I am doing a few things. The first is my blog. The goal is to post a new question from the book two or three times a week. On the blog, I discuss the topic of the question in general terms. For instance, take Question #559: Have you ever refinished/restored something you found at a yard sale/flea market? I did research on refinishing furniture and quoted some good sources on the subject. I partner this with the 1001RLQFW Ning network.

1001RLQFW Ning Network

Ning allows its users to create specific social networks geared around the topics of their choosing.  On Ning, I address the same question I post on the blog, but I give my personal answer to the post. No – I probably won’t post every question on the blog – though some people are willing to bare it ALL, I’ve always thought there are some things better left offline. I see great promise in eventually growing Ning into a membership site, but for now, it receives miscellaneous attention here and there by people who stumble onto it.

1001RLQFW Twitter Home Page

Twitter gets a little more attention simply because Hootsuite makes it easier to manage all my various Twitter accounts at one time. I’ve loved Twitter since I first started using it because it’s so interactive. Of course, I spent a LOT of time building my personal following (which now numbers 6,024 Tweets; 3,660 Following; and 3,296 Followers). On my 1001RLQFW account, I do a few things:

  • I do the relationship management thing, responding to and retweeting other posts.
  • I also post short question-related quotes with some regularity: “You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer ‘yes’ without having asked any clear question,” by Albert Camus.
  • And of course, I post actual questions from the book, along with a photo that illustrates the topic of the question: #255. How many jobs have you had in your life? What was your favorite? Least favorite? Longest time? Shortest?

Animoto video: interview with Dr. Ramani

Other things I’ve done include a couple Animoto videos from two teleconferences I did in advance of my book launch. One was with Dr. Ramani Durvasula on the power of journaling. The second was with life coach Amy Kessel on the power of asking and answering questions. These are good people to tap for book blurbs – now that I’ve got a clear head to reflect back on it!

Future plans include a Facebook group and a Pinterest board, as well as some SlideShare presentations that illustrate two or three questions at a time.

As I suggest that my clients do, I believe it’s essential to first establish a solid presence on one platform before beginning to layer the others in. Once you’ve got several social networks working, you can leverage them to your greatest advantage by linking them to each other and cross-promoting them. For instance, you can Tweet your new Pinterest pictures and blog posts. Remember, however, that although many people are on multiple platforms, the users of each one have a unique flavor, feel, and collective personality. For that reason, you’ve got to address each audience in the way that best suits them.

Make the most out of the relationships you’re taking so much care and effort to groom and grow by personalizing your Tweets and posts!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

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A peek behind the curtain at the book marketer’s marketing plan

For the next 10 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 19 writing prompt:

What are the three most important things you are doing to grow your platform?

Book marketing isn’t rocket science, and I’m not special. What that means is that I must implement all of the same strategies and planning that I share with you through this blog if I intend to build a big platform and take my book to as wide an audience as it has the potential to reach. The interesting bit is that I’ve been doing these things for my clients for years. It’s not a lack of knowing what to do; the issue is DOING it. Why does human nature so often tend to allow us to do much more for others than we do for ourselves?

Part of it is that a book is a business – and a business requires the constant feeding of time and energy if it is to succeed. If you’re self-publishing, you know this already, don’t you? Especially if you’re working full-time, raising kids, going to school, trying to make time for your partner, and juggling all the other things a 21st century woman (or man) tends to have to juggle. I’m not raising kids – but I have 5 pets. I won’t pretend they’re as needy as children, but they all have their own special issues which do take time and mental energy.

And I’m running my own business – which, if you’ve ever done it, you know requires far more than a 40-hour-per-week commitment. Throw in a blog challenge and a political volunteer stint, and you’re lucky you can type words that make any kind of sense at all.

When it really gets down to it, I have to admit I go back and forth about how important my book is, in the large scheme of things. I think it’s like anything: once I begin to get some momentum behind it, it starts to reenergize me and I’m enthusiastic for a while – but then a hiccup occurs and I lose momentum … and focus … and it slowly slides down the priority list until I realize I haven’t touched it for a month or two. Accckkkk!!! See? I’m not special. I’m just like you! (Or – hopefully not like you anymore, because Marcie’s been motivating you to take all the right steps and your book marketing campaign is rocking and rolling right now!)

So what’s my plan to grow my platform?

Well, I always have to thank my mentors. In this case, it’s my former personal trainer Scott White who gets the biggest shout-out, as he was the one who gave me the foundation for my social media prowess. He introduced me to Facebook, got me started on Twitter, told me I had to blog, taught me everything he knew about SEO (which is considerable). Now, I’ve got a really good handle on all of the above – and it’s just a matter of focusing these strategies on my book.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Having been at it for quite some time, I’ve created a fairly sizeable following on Facebook (2,427 friends). The challenge here is that I got really involved way before business and fan pages existed, so I used my personal wall as a catch-all for everything. My business page is doing pretty well with 433 “likes” – but I haven’t really done anything about creating a new 1001RLQFW page or group since the changeover to the new format. Ah … work still ahead of me.

It’s more or less the same story on Twitter – except at least I have a Twitter presence for 1001RLQFW.

Click the image twice (not a double-click) to enlarge.
Then hit the back button to return.

I do plan to create a 1001RLQFW Pinterest board that will include photos accompanied by specific questions from the book. The nice thing is that those sizeable followings on Facebook and Twitter make any new forays into social media easier, because I’m  already something of a known quantity.

I’m also working on SlideShare presentations that illustrate three or four questions at a time, with a musical background. Of course, these may overlap with YouTube – it depends on how they turn out in the final mix.

Then, of course, there is the blog, where I write in general terms about the issue the question addresses and NING, the place where I offer my personal responses to the same questions the blog addresses. BIG DISCLAIMER: It’s been a looooooonnng time since I posted on the blog. I know that. I don’t suggest you follow my lead there. Follow Marcie’s lead. We’re at something like 80 posts in the last 81 days.

WOMEN’S GROUPS

I’ve been compiling a list of women’s groups for a while now. Next up – reaching out to them to offer the book as a fundraiser – or simply to ask how we can partner for a promotion. Within my own network are quite a few women who run a myriad of groups and organizations, but Meetup is also a great place to reach out to similar groups in other parts of the country.

RADIO SHOW

This one is the furthest out, as it’s also my biggest goal. I plan to create a radio show that in some way ties all my myriad interests together – but which will, first and foremost, promote the book. While terrestrial radio is struggling, like so many formats of old media, Internet radio is really starting to catch on. I’m not sure which way I’ll go yet, so I actually have more questions than answers at this point – but this is definitely on my two-year plan.

That’s it for me and 1001RLQFW. How about you? What three things are you doing to grow YOUR platform?

Happy marketing!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

Shoot for the stars when seeking celebebrity endorsements for your book!

For the next 11 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 18 writing prompt:

Who did/could you ask to write a blurb for your book? Why that person/people? How did/will you go about reaching them?

Endorsements, also called testimonials or blurbs, are statements made by people attesting to the quality of writing and the value of the content in your book. If you can get celebrities or industry experts to endorse your book, it can have a significant positive effect on prospective buyers. In marketing terms, this is called the ‘Halo Effect,’ meaning you benefit from another person’s or organization’s notoriety.

Thus writes Brian Jud, author of How to Make REAL Money Selling Books (without Worrying about Returns).

And Jud is correct. If you think about how many times you’ve seen famous folks pitching every kind of product from cosmetics to financial services on the TV machine, you probably know the value their endorsements mean to big companies like CoverGirl and Capital One. So think about what a celeb endorsement could mean to your book!

The advice I universally give my clients is to AIM HIGH. Reach for the stars, in terms of who you approach to ask to write the intro or compose a blurb for the back of your book. The worst their going to do is say no, and you’re no worse off than you were before you asked.

While it may seem almost impossible to obtain a blurb from a celebrity, that doesn’t have to be the case. The best way reach out to someone famous for their endorsement is through networking. Talk to everyone you know and see who has a direct connection or knows someone who could make an introduction for you. Of course, you want to make sure your book is a good fit for that person. It probably wouldn’t make a whole ton of sense to approach Arnold Palmer for an endorsement of a SciFi book or Rachel Maddow for a blurb for your romance novel.

Another option for contacting the celebrity of your dreams is through the mail. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to reply to your request. In your initial query, include a cover letter asking them to endorse your book. Include with it the pertinent info regarding why you’re tapping them for this particular book: the table of contents, a galley copy or sample chapters for their review. Also provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) to make it easy for them to get back to you.

Tell your celebrity up front that you appreciate them taking time from their very busy schedules, and provide sample testimonials from which they may choose if they do not have time to write one of their own.

Think about how busy you are. Even if a celebrity loves your book and wants to endorse it, it can take some time to receive a response from them. If you do not hear back from someone in two or three weeks, send a follow-up letter or email. They may have a gatekeeper screening their mail or email, so just keep at it. And wherever possible, make direct contact!

I have, to date, made one significant overture for a celebrity endorsement of 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women. My friend, Connie, attended an event where Sark was speaking and had a chance to present her with a copy of my book. She said she liked it, but was too busy writing her current book to do any endorsements at the time. That was a couple years ago, though, so I guess it’s time to take my own medicine and try again – as well as developing a longer list and getting busy!

Below, you will find a list of organizations that may be helpful in contact the celebrity you want to endorse your book:

The Screen Actors Guild represents nearly 120,000 film, television, commercial, and music video actors.

• 757 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 323-954-1600

• 360 Madison Avenue, Fl. 12, New York, NY 10017 | 212-944-1030

Contact Any Celebrity claims to have a database of more than 15,000 reliable celebrity addresses. There’s a fee to join, but once you register you will receive full access to the members’ area, which allows you to search the database of celebrity addresses.

• 8721 Santa Monica Blvd. #431; West Hollywood, CA 90069 | 310-691-5466

Reel Classics, the classic movie website, provides a free list of addresses for certain celebrities that have approved the use of their contact information.

Additionally, I CANNOT and DO NOT vouch for this, but I came across an info product titled Secrets to Getting Celebrity Endorsements that claims to teach you all the ins and outs of obtaining celebrity endorsements.

Happy celebrity hunting!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

Read Full Post »

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