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Archive for April, 2016

Planning a short-term launch or a long-term book marketing campaign?

There’s definitely something to be said for celebrating the publication of your book – especially your FIRST book – with a big gala launch party to-do celebration. If … you have the time, budget, energy, skills, and/or team to put it together. And celebrate you should! A book is still a big deal. You took the time to write it, design it, create an attractive cover. You paid to have it edited, typeset, proofread, and perhaps printed. You want to share your success with your friends, family, clients, neighbors – pretty much everyone you know.

To do a launch up right takes an investment of time and, depending on your goals, probably some money. The amount can be large or small, depending on whether you charter a yacht, as one of my prospective clients was thinking about doing, or hold it at a local coffeehouse where the shop owner agrees to give everyone who buys a book a free cuppa joe, as another pair of clients did.

evergreen sapling and tree

The thing about putting an enormous amount of effort into planning a launch is that it’s usually short-term thinking. For a book with an evergreen subject matter or theme, a single launch event should be the first item on the list of a long-term marketing campaign. To be clear, your brand new book about the latest wedding fashion trends is not timeless – so this idea may not apply. A job search book you wrote 10 years ago needs updating to include LinkedIn and online apps to become relevant – and it likely will need updating again in the next couple years, so it’s not evergreen, either. A YA coming-of-age novel? More timeless, unless it’s weighted down by too many references to modern details like Snapchat and Dylan O’Brien.

The point is, if your book will remain relevant past its first six months in print (or you can routinely update it to keep it relevant), you want to plan a long-term marketing campaign that includes building a decent social media following; securing reviews; participating in local, regional, and national book events; blogging; writing news releases; and keeping in regular touch with your most loyal readers.

Remember, dear author, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing a book. It’s up to you to know who your reader is, where he/she spends time on and offline, and how you can begin to interact with him/her. Word of mouth is important, so who are the most influential of your ideal readers? Focus on them, engage them, and tempt them to get the buzz rolling. This is a delicate balance that first recognizes the social aspect of engagement; secondly acknowledges that this person is likely busy; and thirdly offers something of value (e.g., copies of your book, access to your mailing list, the possibility of partnership) in exchange for their assistance, as opposed to coming at them with your hand out.

Other ideas include creating an inner circle for superfans and building a membership site that offers more tools, grander insights, or deeper access to you and your creative well.

The most important aspect of a long-term campaign is the plan.

  • What are the tasks?
  • Who will perform them?
  • When will they perform them?
  • Who will manage quality control to be sure all the tasks are completed on time?
  • What is your plan for amending the plan when it’s not working for any reason?
  • Who will hold you accountable if you fall into analysis paralysis or procrastination?

GS - pencil ruler book

Clever launches occasionally catapult authors to bigger successes. More often, they’re just short-lived photo ops. Long-term plans with consistent application is where the true success thrives. Hold the launch. Celebrate your book’s first bloom. Then, nurture it and cultivate it so it can keep on growing and thriving.

Here’s to planning for the short AND long term!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

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Late, early, or right on time?

Pointing-at-Watch

Pretty much everyone can agree that being on time is a good habit to develop and nurture. One trait you never want to be known for is running chronically late. You know the type – maybe you are the type! Traffic. Kids. Dogs. The phone. There’s always an excuse – some of them sincere, or actually true. But when you’re labeled an HTP (habitually tardy person), it can reflect badly on you, both in your personal and professional lives.

But what about the person who is chronically early? Have you ever heard those people who spout the refrain, “If you’re on time, you’re late”? No, you’re not. If you’re on time, you’re on time. You have a good sense of time. You know it takes less than an hour to get across town, and you budget accordingly. You know you’re low on gas, so you leave a few minutes early and stop at the gas station on your way. You’ve checked your wallet and know you need to hit an ATM before going to your networking luncheon. And still, you get there on time. Not 30 minutes early. Not 15 minutes late. On time.

There was a funny scene in last Sunday’s episode of The Good Wife. Alicia is preparing for her mother-in-law’s wedding party, which is to take place in her apartment. The doorbell rings, and Alicia says to her daughter, “It’s 10 of. They’re not supposed to be here for 10 more minutes.” Trust me, I know the difference 10 minutes can make, but when you’re having people over, you can always expect them to start showing up at least 10 minutes before the event’s posted start time. Sometimes they show up as much as a half-hour early.

I’ve experienced the frustration of arriving at a venue 45 minutes early to set up for my small event, glad I’m not rushed and comfortable that I will have plenty of time to prepare in a relaxed manner – only to find someone already there, waiting. And the nature of that early person seems never to be to wait quietly … or to offer to help. The nature of that early person is to want to engage you in conversation, completely oblivious to the fact that you arrived early because you have things to do.

My point is that arriving extra early is just as rude as arriving late – sometimes more so. When people post an event start time, they choose that time for a reason. They have errands to do and accommodations to make and they are relying on the time prior to the posted start time to get those things done.

I’m no perfectionist when it comes to running on time. Occasionally I’m five minutes late; once in a while, I’m five minutes early. But more often than not, I’m right on time. As a frequent host of author events, I recommend getting there early if you are a vendor or volunteer who can help set up. You can’t skate in 5 minutes before the doors are supposed to open and expect to create an attractive, inviting, professional display. But if you’re an event patron – or a regular meeting attendee – on time is a good goal.

Some organizations build networking time into their meetings. For example, the posted start time for a luncheon is 11:30 a.m., but people are not asked to be seated so the formal program can begin until 11:45. Other groups prefer that you do your networking in the 10 or 15 minutes before the posted start time. Do your research ahead of time and learn the particulars for the group you’ll be visiting so you know what to expect when you get there.

Heading to a new venue you’ve never been to before? Allow yourself some extra time to find the place without rushing. And in the event that you still find yourself with 20 or 30 extra minutes? Carry a book with you. Listen to an audiobook in your car. Go for a walk (as long as it’s not summertime in Phoenix). Meditate. Write out your goal list. Study the goal list you keep in your car for just such occasions. Use the restroom so you won’t have to interrupt the meeting later to get up. Consider those 20 or 30 minutes a gift.

And if you still have time to spare, check out this great Buzzfeed post, with 22 things people who are chronically early will totally understand.

Then give the host and/or event planner the gift of arriving on time.

Here’s to conquering Chronic Early Arrival Syndrome!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

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The most important moment in life is NOW!

Over the weekend, my husband and I were in Kingman for the KABAM (Kingman Area Books Are Magic) Festival. That odd experience is for another post. While we were there, though, we took advantage of our proximity to GB

Laughlin and went to see George Benson perform at the Edgewater Hotel and Casino. Whoo-hoo! We were fortunate to score front-row seats that had been released the day of the show!

You hear that George Benson’s playing and you think (OK, I thought…): Yeah, I probably know one or two of his songs. And then he plays his guitar and it’s hit after hit after hit. Songs like “Breezin’,” “Turn Your Love Around,” “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You,” “Give Me the Night,” and “On Broadway.”

So the concert venue is odd. One of those makeshift-looking buildings that’s more tent than permanent structure. And in an effort to cram in as many seats as possible, every folding chair in the place is zip-tied into its row, so there’s no wiggle room. It literally felt like we were sitting on top of the people on either side of us – and vice-versa. That led to conversation because, well, our butts were nudging each other, so how could you not talk to a person?

The little man sitting next to me was Benny (not his real name). He wore a beige golf cap, a yellow polo shirt, and had a well-groomed Van Dyke. He told me, rather proudly it seemed, that he had grown up with George Benson in Pittsburgh. “I’m 73 now. So’s he,” he said, pointing to the empty stage. “I knew him all the way back in third grade.” Benny recalled the times when Benson would go to the corner store and buy a quarter’s worth of penny candy. Then, he’d sit in the back of the classroom, eating one after another. He’d occasionally get caught by the teacher, who would hear the wrappers rattling. I asked Benny if George ever shared his candy. “Never!” came the quick reply. “He’d say, ‘You want candy? Go get your own.’” He seemed lost in thought for a moment.

“We played a little music together,” Benny said nostalgically. “I was on the drums a bit.”

I asked Benny if the men had stayed in touch over the years. They hadn’t – but it wasn’t for Benny’s lack of trying. He’d call up the hotel when he’d learn that Benson was in town. “I haven’t known that guy for a long time,” was the comment he’d hear right before the line went dead.

I asked if Benny still played music. “No. I went into the army. Did 20 years. When I came out, I worked for the post office and then the VA. That’s where I met her,” he said, jabbing his thumb toward a woman I assumed was his wife. “We met at the VA in California. I’m retired now.”

“So what do you do with yourself to keep busy?”

“Nothin’. I just stay home and collect my checks.”

“Certainly you must do something,” I suggested.

“Not really.”

Then the show started, and Benny spent the next 90 minutes trying to get his old friend’s attention. Never once did George Benson acknowledge him – not even when, during the finalé, he invited the audience to come forward and they obliged, turning the area between the first row and the stage into an impromptu dancefloor. My husband went right up to the stage, Benny right behind him. I stayed safely in my (now roomy) seat. George Benson reached out to shake the hands of his fans. He shook my husband’s hand – and everyone else’s in his immediate vicinity – except for poor Benny’s. Snubbed, it seemed. “Maybe he just didn’t recognize him after all those years,” said my husband, ever the optimist and trying to think well of the über-talented performer we had just watched, mesmerized.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I mean, he got everyone else. Maybe it was an oversight, but it looked intentional from where I was sitting.”

Here’s the thing. As I watched George Benson finish his energetic performance of “On Broadway,” backed by a truly gifted band, something occurred to me: It didn’t matter that Benny had known George Benson all those years ago. And it didn’t matter that George Benson had snubbed him – if that is, in fact, what had happened. All that mattered was that moment, when Benson was living his passion, up on that stage, using his considerable talents to entertain his equally exuberant audience. He was doing it – right now. Same as he had been for many, many years. Benny, as nice a guy as he might be, had spent those same years attempting to get his validation through someone else’s fame, instead of going out and creating something special of his own.

I posted this image on my Facebook page the morning of the concert:

Those who died this morning

Then I posted this one yesterday.

space between

A friend of mine once expressed the wish that he had studied architecture instead of economics in college. “Go back,” I told him. “Study it now.”

“It’s too late,” he moaned. “Architecture is a 6-year degree. What if I try it and I find out I hate it?” He was probably 33 or 34 at the time.

“You might hate it – but you might try it and find out you love it. And those six years are going to pass, whether you take that risk or stay stuck in the job you hate.” My friend was like Benny. It’s now 10 years since that conversation, and he never went back to school.

Rather than sitting around and stewing about the unfairness of life, envying those who’ve written their books, or criticizing from the safety of the sidelines, take THIS moment to jump into life with both feet. Make an outline. Use your phone to record your stories while you’re driving or folding laundry. Ask your neighbor’s kid to help you build a website. Just do it. Stop making excuses about why everyone else – especially that guy or girl you knew when – is succeeding and you’re just watching life pass you by.

Do it now.

Seagull walking on the beach on a sunny day

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

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So I am quasi-breaking my own rule here: Reposting someone else’s content is NOT blogging. However, in this case, the someone else’s material I am borrowing is my own. It’s the post I wrote Saturday for the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion blog, which I maintain for the Meetup group of the same name.

Why am I “cheating”? Because it’s a comprehensive post about the tools you may want to consider packing the next time you get ready to participate in a book festival or other similar selling opportunity as a vendor. The post after this one will be my review of the four recent book festivals I attended.

Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion

The Power of the Group: Your Book Festival Vendor Kit

by Laura Orsini

Two other members of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup are in Kingman, Arizona, with me this weekend for the KABAM Festival (Kingman Area Books Are Magic). Beth Kozan is the author of ADOPTION: More than by Chance, and David Medansky has authored a number of books about craps, including Greatest Craps Guru in the World.

To make the most of our experience this weekend, I planned ahead. Here are the tools I’ve packed in my Book Festival Vendor Kit.

Vendor Kit5Our banner, which will draw attention to our booth and identify our group.

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Vendor Kit7

The fabric backdrop for our booth, featuring the covers from David’s, Beth’s, and my books, among other members’ books. Email marciebrock@writemarketdesign.com if you want help to make your own fabric backdrop.

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Vendor Kit3

Vendor Kit8

Wooden crates and holders to help

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: A non-writing writer

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

Here’s today’s inspiration: “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”

Kafka

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

 

Read Full Post »

Lessons every author can take from Prince’s accomplishments

Damn, does it seem like Planet Earth is losing a lot of vastly talented artists lately! The most recent, of  princecourse, came with the shocking news that music legend Prince died today at his home in Minneapolis. One of the best comments I heard in the immediate aftermath of the announcement came from CNN’s Don Lemon, who said – and I’m paraphrasing here, “As sad as his loss is for everyone, I want to take this time to celebrate his immense accomplishments and all he gave to the world through his art.”

To that end, I’d like to celebrate Prince by reminding us all of the lessons we, as authors, can take from his accomplishments.

1. Prince was a champion of indie, through and through. “He was also fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Prince once wrote ‘slave’ on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously battled and then departed his label, Warner Bros., before returning a few years ago.”(1) I learned today that Prince accomplished what few musical artists do by finally taking ownership of his entire music catalogue.

2. He did it himself. “Prince recorded the great majority of his music entirely on his own, playing every instrument and singing every vocal line.”(2) This only works, of course, if you have the skills to do it all yourself. If you need help, definitely hire the right people!

3. Prince was “a wildly prolific songwriter”(2) – releasing four albums just in the last 18 months, alone.Prince symbol

4. He branded himself well. He often incorporated the color purple; for a while changed his name to a symbol; and used the letter U in place of “you” and an eye icon in place of “I” long before texting came into vogue.(2)

5. Prince was deliberately controversial. “He embraced controversy, presenting himself as an androgynous sex fiend in his album art and lyrics, and challenged conservative music ideals in his first decade on albums like 1999, Purple Rain and Sign O’ the Times.”(3)

6. He gave people value for their money. “He distributed albums to concertgoers along with their tickets when that was a novel concept, and he planned other tours at the spur of the moment, dubbing them ‘hit and run’ shows.”(3)

7. He supported other artists. “During the particularly productive time surrounding 1999, Prince also began writing and producing songs under the pseudonym Jamie Starr for two other groups, the local group the Time and a trio of women he assembled, Vanity 6.”(3)

8. He knew how important it was to be himself. “‘The most important thing is to be true to yourself, but I also like danger,’ Prince told [Los Angeles Times critic, Robert] Hilburn… . ‘That’s what is missing from pop music today. There’s no excitement and mystery – people sneaking out and going to these forbidden concerts by Elvis Presley or Jimi Hendrix.’”(4)

9. He used his own life as source material for his music and acting. “Prince’s music was steeped in the contradictions of his background – a black artist who toyed with his racial background in the casting of Purple Rain, sexually flamboyant and gender playful, with a Midwestern self-reliance that created space for his idiosyncrasies.”(4)

Life can be short. Don’t miss the opportunity to write your books, connect with your readers, support other authors, and share your personal story or message with the world!

Here’s to you, Prince Rogers Nelson!

Laura

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SOURCES:
  1. http://abc13.com/news/publicist-pop-superstar-prince-dies-at-his-minnesota-home/1302598/
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/arts/music/prince-dead.html?_r=0
  3. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/prince-dead-at-57-20160421#ixzz46VJhB7Sn
  4. http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-prince-20160421-story.html

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

__________________

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: A good poem is a contribution to reality…

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

Here’s today’s inspiration: “A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the Universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.”

Planets Outer Space Backdrop

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

 

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