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Archive for September, 2014

Overcoming the curse of overpreparing

Many years ago, I was part of a committee invested with the job of creating a new event for an organization in New York City. I was one of five women in this small group, each from diverse backgrounds, all with busy schedules. The Internet was in its infancy — this was long before Google Calendar or Doodle or MeetingWizard were around. We had to do things the old fashioned way: select a few times and then call each other until we hit on one that worked for everyone. women and wine

Once we had the meeting scheduled, we met at a restaurant one late afternoon. We ordered wine, and then we got to work. We decided on a name for the event. We chose several options for dates to run past the organization muckety-mucks. We planned a theme. We decided how we wanted to handle the food. We wrote an agenda and planned the speakers. We decided who else needed to be invited. We each took responsibility for one aspect of the event. We each had another glass of wine. And we were done.

The next time we met with our liaison for the organization, she asked how the event planning was coming. I thought she was going to fall off her chair when we told her it was all planned. Now this was a very nice woman. She was supremely skilled at her job and delightful to work with. She was not, however, efficient at organizing events or steering groups toward action. Her idea of progress was to call a meeting to discuss planning a meeting where we would get together to set a date for the meeting where we would decide when we would meet. So when she heard that we had scheduled a meeting, met, and accomplished our goal in one sitting, she was stunned.

Question for you: which one more resembles your marketing efforts? The group that was assigned a task, met, and accomplished the task, or the highly skilled woman who was terribly inefficient when it came to making progress in a group?

Overpreparing frequently shows up in candidates for job interviews and public speakers. The problem is that they can actually sabotage their own success by getting so caught up in getting ready to be ready that they fail to take a breath, rely on their skill, or demonstrate confidence. When it comes to book marketing, many authors hide behind the screen of overpreparing, which is usually just another word for procrastination.

In a discussion about social media, Barbara Chatzkel, a colleague and good friend of mine, said it well: “There will never be a perfect time, so you might as well start now.” The same can be said of your book marketing efforts.

Sure, we need to do some basics like identify our audience, know exactly what our book is about, and have a succinct answer as to why we wrote it. But much beyond that and we are apt to wade into over-preparing territory. You wrote the book, right? So you know the answers to these questions.

Where should you begin? With what works for you. Some authors enthusiastically embrace blogging, while others are not overpreparingbig fans. Some authors love Facebook and jump in with both feet; I have a client who steers clear of the most popular social network because it’s just not her thing. The best place to begin your book marketing campaign is via an avenue that meets two criteria: (1) you know it will help you reach your prospective readers and (2) it’s is within your reach.

NOTE: “Within your reach” doesn’t mean easy, free of fear, guaranteed, or without cost — it means something you can undertake now.

There’s only so much research you need to do. There are only so many times you can revise your calendar and only so many drafts of that first blog post you can justify. SOONER than later, you just need to do it. Launch your blog. Create your Facebook page. Schedule your first book signing. Write your first newsletter. Order those postcards. Press SEND on that media release.

Will it be scary? Probably. Is it guaranteed to work? No. Does doing it mean that people might actually read your book — and comment on it? That’s the goal! Does it mean you might get some negative feedback? If we’re honest, that’s always a possibility. But if you’re still scared, think back to the reason you wrote your book in the first place. Whether it was to solve a problem or entertain your reader for a few hours, you had a mission and a message, or you wouldn’t have written it.

So stop hiding  behind your computer and start telling people about your book. You can do it. I’m cheering you on. And if you need more than cheering, email me at holidaymarketing@writemarketdesign.com to claim your complimentary half-hour consultation.

Here’s to the end of the preparation and the beginning of the marketing!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below."Practical Philanthropy" book cover

__________________

Check out Laura’s newest book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. A percentage of all book sales is donated to Art4TheHomeless.org and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

 

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Planning to sell books during the holidays? Better start thinking like a sales superstar!

Yes, we often talk about this concept here at the Marcie Brock blog. The reason is that for quite a few authors – and holiday booksother professionals and business owners – marketing is the most difficult part of doing business. My friend Connie Kadansky is an international sales coach and trainer. I recently asked her to come speak to the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup, which I organize. The topic I asked her to speak on? How to Ask for What You Want and Get It.

There are two people in my life who get what they want just about every time an idea comes to them: Connie, and my 22-year-old niece, Samantha. What makes them so special? Do they know some secret? Do they have magic powers? Would you believe me if I told you that the answer to both questions is YES!

Both Connie and Samantha have an uncanny ability to get very, very clear about what they want. Then, they visualize the end result they are trying to achieve as already complete. And the last magic steps are accepting that it’s done and being grateful for the outcome. After that, they just sit back and watch the Universe conspire to support them in achieving their goals – whatever they may be. Whether it’s traveling around the world or landing a coveted speaking gig at a rock-star event, both Connie and Sam ask for what they want and get it nearly every time. I am personally getting much, much better at this, but I’ve got a way to go before I become the master of manifestation that they are.

So what does this have to do with sales? Absolutely everything, because your success as a salesperson is directly related to your mindset. You’ve got to see yourself achieving the results you want before you even pick up the phone, walk into that bookstore, send that email, or begin that conversation with someone at a book signing. And the only way you can see yourself as successful at sales is if you admit that you’re actually in sales.

It was a relatively small group that Connie spoke to for the Publishing Meetup, but it should surprise no one to hear that at least half of those in attendance were incredibly resistant to her message. Why? They don’t see themselves as salespeople. They are authors and writers (and perhaps other professions, too), but they are most definitely not in sales. Is it any wonder, then, that they struggle with selling books?

Connie shared a great story with us. A recent survey of plastic surgeons found that those who are willing to embrace sales PSP-Magazine2and marketing have 6-month waiting lists. On the other hand, those who insist that they are Board Certified Doctors who wouldn’t dare to stoop to the indignity of becoming salespeople are closing their second offices and working only three days a week. Of all the medical disciplines, plastic surgery is the one most reliant on marketing, because it is largely an elective procedure. People don’t generally flip through Physicians Monthly making note of cardiologists or oncologists, in case they should ever have a need. But if plastic surgeons are unwilling to do what it takes to get in front of prospective patients, common sense tells us that those prospective patients are going to use the doctors who are willing to market their services.

It’s a mindset thing. Are you a lead generation specialist first, or are you an author first? Seems to come back to that chicken-and-egg question from our last post, doesn’t it? Except that the answer is clear. If selling our books is important to us – that is, if we wrote them with the intention of finding readers for them – we have to embrace the sales and marketing side, adjusting our mindsets and making time for it.

There are just 115 days till Christmas. What are your sales outlook and marketing plans for those 3-1/2 months? If you don’t have any, sit down right now and sketch it out. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, the simpler, the better. Just make sure you do have a plan. And that you take action every day to implement it.

Want help creating a holiday marketing plan? Email me at holidaymarketing@writemarketdesign.com to book your complimentary half-hour consultation.

Wishing you great success in mastering your sales mindset!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below."Practical Philanthropy" book cover

__________________

Check out Laura’s newest book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. A percentage of all book sales is donated to Art4TheHomeless.org and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

 

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