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Ready to Sell More Books in 2017? Here Are 9 Tips

Here are 9 tips for moving your book marketing forward in 2017 .

Unless you’re writing as a hobby, your book is a business and you have a goal to sell as many copies as you can. The start of the year is your chance to review and revise your current book marketing plan – or create and implement one if you’re just starting out.

You’ll need a few things to put your plan into action:

1. Sales goals, broken down by week, month, and/or year
2. Concrete understanding of who your ideal reader is (demographics)
3. Knowledge about your ideal reader’s habits and preferences (psychcographics)
4. An understanding of relationship and content marketing
5. A plan to grow your email list
6. Strategies you plan to implement to reach your ideal reader
7. An actual calendar (paper or digital) on which to record the steps of your marketing plan
8. Assigned dates for quarterly reviews of your plan
9. Rewards for accomplishing your goals

1. Sales goals, broken down by week, month, and/or year
It’s impossible to reach your goals if you don’t know what they are. So how many books do you want to sell? What’s realistic, given the time, skills, and money you can invest in your marketing efforts? How many books do you need to sell to recoup your costs? How many books do you need to sell to reach/maintain bestseller status?

2. Concrete understanding of who your ideal reader is (demographics)
No matter how good your marketing plan is, it’s likely to fail unless and until you know who your ideal reader is. Who this reader is may surprise you. One author I know writes hard-boiled detective novels, so he envisioned men, particularly law enforcement types, as his ideal readers. As he was halfway into his second novel, he did a review of who had bought his first book and was surprised to find it was mostly soccer moms.

3. Knowledge about your ideal reader’s habits and preferences (psychcographics)
Once you know who your reader is, it becomes easier to discern what they like, what they read, where and how they buy books. This will help you determine whether your best bet is to connect with them via LinkedIn or Instagram – or whether you’re more likely to find them at a tradeshow or through your membership in a civic organization.

4. An understanding of relationship and content marketing
Think of your own preferences, when it comes to buying things. Long gone are the days when people will tolerate being sold to. More often, they buy because the product (yes, your book is a product) meets a need or sates a desire – and they choose books because the author comes pre-recommended from a trusted source. Don’t discount reviews – but an anonymous review on Amazon carries a lot less weight than their best friend telling them, “You have to read this book – it’s amazing!” That kind of sharing results (a) from a really good book, and (b) because an author takes the time to cultivate relationships and provide engaging content via their blog, website, YouTube, and other social media platforms.

5. A plan to grow your email list
Although your blog readers and social media connections are important, nothing is more valuable to you, when it comes to marketing your books, than your email list. If your blog goes down for any reason or your social media account is hacked, bye-bye to all those connections. But you own your list – no one else does. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to start building it! This means finding ways and reasons to get people to give you their email addresses. Contests and giveaways are a big one, as is an ethical bribe you offer on your website or social media pages (a free report, quiz, ebook, or other interesting/useful item). Make sure your giveaway item is digital – so that it’s easy for you to collect the visitor’s email address upon delivering it.

6. Strategies you plan to implement to reach your ideal reader
Now that you know who your reader is, what steps will you take to connect with them? A focused Pinterest campaign? A contest? Biweekly news releases? A blog? A Tip-of-the-Week newsletter? Choose no more than six you will focus on for all of 2017.

7. An actual calendar (paper or digital) on which to record the steps of your marketing plan
Now, it’s time to actually break down the six (or fewer) strategies you’ve settled on into realistic, manageable, measureable steps – and add them to your calendar. Whether you dedicate a certain amount of time every day (the best plan) or a couple hours one day a week, nothing’s going to move unless and until you TAKE ACTION on your plan. This means calendaring the steps, and then keeping your appointments with yourself to implement the plan.

8. Assigned dates for quarterly reviews of your plan
As you move through the steps on your plan, you’ll likely find that some things work better than you’d anticipated, while others are less effective. An important aspect of achieving your goals is setting a date once a quarter to review your plan. What worked? What didn’t work? What might you do more of? What can you abandon and replace with something else?

9. Rewards for accomplishing your goals
Whether you sell one book or a hundred books, it’s more than you sold before – so have a plan to celebrate your success. First, you’ve got to know what it means to have succeeded (see #1). And then, you really want to have a pre-determined reward for accomplishing that goal. Think of it as something to work toward. Try to make the reward commensurate with the goal. For instance, come up with small rewards like a bubble bath or dinner at your favorite restaurant for meeting your weekly goals. Then, think of bigger rewards for accomplishing your quarterly or annual goals.

Will 2017 be the year YOU design and implement an actionable book marketing plan?
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Want to take your book marketing to the next level next year? Get your complimentary physical copy of my 2017 Book Marketing Calendar (all you pay is 1 penny, plus $3.95 S&H). Order here: http://bit.ly/BookMktCalendar­.

It has one idea a week for all 52 weeks of the year to move your book marketing forward, along with a theme for each month and specific writing-related day celebrations. You can take action on the weekly marketing tips, while also expanding your engagement by promoting the celebratory days on your blog and/or favorite social media platforms.

EXAMPLES:
JANUARY IS BOOK BLITZ MONTH.

JANUARY BOOK MARKETING IDEAS
– Make a list of non-bookstore venues you can approach
– Put your ebook on CDs/DVDs
– Make a list of ancillary products you can create

JANUARY DAY CELEBRATIONS
January 10 – National Poetry at Work Day
January 15 – Wikipedia Day
January 16 – Book Publishers Day

Get your complimentary physical copy (all you pay is 1 penny, plus $3.95 S&H). Order here: http://bit.ly/BookMktCalendar­.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Come celebrate Phoenix-area indie authors this Saturday, October 8th!

Authors are a strange lot. Many write for love of the craft. Some write to share important messages or to establish themselves as experts in their fields. Most are seeking readers. Some embrace the idea of abracadabra-instant-best-sellermarketing. Many are stunned when they hear the 80/20 principle as it applies to publishing: the recommended ratio of marketing time/effort to writing time/effort. A huge number seem to wish they could wave a magic marketing wand and be done with it. Hocus pocus. Abracadabra. And voila … a bestseller appears.

Unfortunately – or fortunately – it doesn’t work like that. The successful authors are the ones who are willing to be creative and determined to get the word out about their books.

That is the goal of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup. We are on the cusp of reaching 1,000 members in our little club. That means that one in every 3.552 residents of the Valley of the Sun is a member of our group who either (a) has written at least one book, (b) is in the process of writing a book, or (c) is thinking about writing a book and has an interest in learning more about marketing their titles.

To them, I say KUDOS! Hats off! Well done! And happy Indie Author Day! Now not every member of our group is a self-published author, but the vast majority are indie authors. Google the definition of indie author and you’ll likely find dozens of variations. In my opinion, an indie author is an author who is the creative director of their books, from concept to publication to marketing and beyond. While they may or may not partner with a variety of service providers along the way, they drive their own publishing process and agenda. Many small publishers are indie presses, as are those authors who only ever self-publish a single book.

Saturday, October 8, 2016, marks the inaugural Indie Author Day. On that day, libraries across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. We won’t know for a while whether IAD will become an annual event, but that would be a happy outcome! Surprisingly few Phoenix-area libraries are participating – but it’s the first year, so let’s hope it grows with time.

Maricopa County Library District — El Mirage Branch  /  El Mirage, AZ

Maricopa County Library District — Northwest Regional Branch  /  Surprise, AZ

Maricopa County Library District — Queen Creek Branch  /  Queen Creek, AZ

Maricopa County Library District — Sun City Branch  /  Sun City, AZ

There IS something else you can do to celebrate indie authors in the Phoenix area – and that is join us forBooks Take You Higher Gala the inaugural Books Take You Higher Gala! This party features local authors – many of whom are members of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup – and gives Valley book lovers the chance to mix and mingle with some of the best. Authors in attendance range from award-winning children’s authors to adult fiction authors, memoir writers, business writers, and everyone in between.

Some of the things you can look forward to:

  • A spelling bee for the smarty pants in the house (PRIZE: $25 gift card)
  • A literary trivia contest for the true bibliophiles (PRIZE: $25 gift card)
  • An optional costume contest (come as your favorite literary character – it is October, after all – and you could win a $50 gift card!)
  • Live music from comedy quartet, Lilac Crazy, and solo guitarist Mickey Clement
  • Food from Pita Jungle
  • Much more…

Advance tickets are just $5 for members of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup; $10 for the general public; and $15 for 2 general public tickets. Join us and help us support Read Better Be Better, a local nonprofit whose goal is to interrupt the cycle of childhood illiteracy that so often gives way to adult illiteracy in our country.

Questions? Email phxazlaura@gmail.com. Please come and bring a friend! And if you can’t make it, please press one of the share buttons to tell your bibliophile friends about the event!

Many thanks to our printing sponsor, Author2Market.com – and Write | Market | Design for hosting the event!

Books Take You Higher Gala partners banner

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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A book signing success story

At a recent meeting of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup, we discussed the where’s, why’s, and how’s of planning a live book tour. Understandably, authors report varying success with and preference/dislike for book tours. Drawbacks mentioned include the fact that they take time to plan, can be costly, and provide access to a limited number of prospective readers.

As we head into the last month of marketing in preparation for the Phoenix Holiday Author Event, coming up on daugher sonDecember 6, I’d like to share a quick story about the power that can come of a face-to-face signing opportunity. This is my second go-round at planning a big, multi-author event. The first was the Phoenix Summer Author Event, which took place back in August. One of the authors who participated in that event was Betsie Harvie. Her book, My Daughter, My Son, is the story of an adolescent’s gender transition, as experienced by mother and child.

At the age of thirteen, after years of battling depression and body dysphoria, Luca came out to his mother as a boy trapped in a girl’s body. After recovering from the initial shock and emotional anguish of losing her daughter, Betsie embraced and supported her son’s female-to-male transition. She’s battled psychiatrists, doctors, and educators for her son’s rights, safety, and dignity. As her blurb on the Holiday Author Event website describes, “Betsie is an insightful expert about what it takes to love and raise a transsexual child. She hopes her experiences and commitment to unconditional love will help others.”

The Summer Author Event allowed Betsie to do just that. A friend of mine, Scottsdale interior designer Katie Strand, told me a week or so after the event that while she enjoyed herself, she spent the first hour or so there wondering why she’d gone. She’s a reader, but has plenty of books at home and didn’t really feel a need to buy any new titles. Nevertheless, perhaps the pressure of networking and the power of my delightfully designed postcards worked, because Katie found herself at the Summer Author Event in spite of herself. And while she was there, an unexpected thing happened.

It turns out that a neighbor of Katie’s has a child who’s going through an experience similar to Luca’s with a desire for a gender reassignment. The mother is supportive, but the ex-husband father is adamantly opposed and fighting her at every turn. Katie took Betsie’s information and passed it on to her neighbor. With estimates putting the number of the population who identify as transgender at 1 percent, it’s vital that this mother no longer feels that she’s going it alone. Perhaps Katie’s neighbor would have come across Betsie’s book anyway. Maybe she might even have met her at a support group. But the fact is that a crucial connection was made at the perfect time – a connection that occurred only because of a live book signing event. Betsie will be joining us again for the Holiday Author Event.

Getting out from behind the computer to meet real people is, in my humble opinion, always a good idea. Plan carefully and set realistic limits on your tour. But meet people in person, share your book with them, and come back and tell us your stories here.

Here’s to a successful book tour!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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

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

little piles of money

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

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

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

Following that reminder, my major question to you is:

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

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

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

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

Ways you can follow up:

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

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

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

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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

__________________

 

 

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Letting your imagination run riot

For a split second last night, I felt like the protagonist in a horror movie. It happened during an adventure out to see an artist friend’s work during First Friday – the monthly celebration of art, culture, and strange that takes place in downtown Phoenix. 

Thing is, I forgot that Downtown Phoenix that this particular evening promised  a traffic superstorm: second day of Comicon, Atlanta Braves at the Arizona Diamondbacks, and First Friday. Woo-hoo! Twelve-dollar parking … so glad I had cash with me!

 As I headed toward the Arizona Science Center to see Lisa’s art projected on the dome of the Dorrance Planetareum, I encountered many a kooky character.

comicon 2

comicon 1

Waited in line almost 20 minutes to buy a bottled water from the Chicken and Waffles vendor only to hear: “No! I’m all sold out of beverages.” Big chalkboard right there with their prices on it – they couldn’t mention the no-beverages situation and save the people who just wanted some relief from the heat the fruitless wait? Oh, wait … Comicon. These people are impervious to heat!

Finally made it to the Science Center, where they were blessedly well-stocked with beverages, from beer to wine to soda … and water.

Then I saw Lisa’s show. We’ve been friends for nearly a dozen years and I love her art, but this was something extraordinary. Most of her paintings range in size from 5″ x 8″ to 16″ x 24″. In other words, not very big. But there they were, projected on the planetarium dome as big as the roof of my house!

2014-06-06 19.34.10

Note the little red dot on the bottom right of the picture – that’s the EXIT sign!

Lisa did a series of paintings featuring comedian Louis CK. This one is delightful … and the creators of the planetarium show animated it so that the wings flitted and the “bee” buzzed all over the dome before settling in the middle of the painting.

2014-06-06 19.36.49

These still photos don’t do her work justice. These were part of a series of five animal totems … each one more gorgeous than the last.

2014-06-06 19.37.52

2014-06-06 19.38.03

It was, by far, one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Lisa’s art is absolutely gorgeous – but the animation and the music just made the experience other-worldly. If you’re in Phoenix and missed the show (or will be in Phoenix in the next couple weeks), Lisa’s looking to do a command performance for VIP guests. You can come as my guest, provided you’re willing to do it on a Sunday morning and you email me that you’re interested (laura@writemarketdesign.com).

It was on my way back to my car that the horror-movie moment happened. I was casually strolling, enjoying the coolish 90-degree weather, when I looked north and saw a GIANT mob of people moving toward me. People were beginning to line the street I was walking, so it was only seconds before I realized it must be a Zombie Walk. I figured I had plenty of time to cross the street and make it to my parking garage without incident. Then, the noise behind me got louder. I turned to look, and the mob was turning the corner onto the street where I was walking! Shit, they’re coming this way. It was such a comical thought, because I could imagine the heroine of B horror movie uttering that very line.

zombies

Little zombies. Big zombies. Religious zombies. Alien zombies. French maid zombies. Zombies with green hair. Zombies with tattoos. Every kind of zombie you can imagine – all were out in full force.I am, admittedly, not a fantasy or horror fan. I bought a couple paranormal romances authored by a Facebook pal (and they were actually pretty good!), but overall, these are just not my genres of choice. But it occurred to me that these are a LOT of people’s genres of choice. The 2013 San Diego Comicon is estimated to have generated in excess of $163 million – from 150,000 attendees. Yes, you’re a writer – but do the math! That’s an average of nearly $1,100 bucks a person. Now, not all of that money was spent at the event – hotels, food, car rentals get factored in. But these are still people who are shopping.
What’s my point? If you’re an author in any of these genres and there’s a Comicon anywhere near you, shouldn’t you be there with postcards on a street corner, at the VERY least? Dressed as your main character or villain, if you’re really willing to get in the spirit? Doing impromptu readings, if you’re willing to go the distance?

comicon 3

Speaking of paranormal fiction … a member of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup which I facilitate said something priceless at our last meeting. One of our regular features is that we each announce an action step we plan to take before the next meeting. I write those down and post them. Then, at the start of each meeting, we go around the room to check in and see how everyone did with their goals. This accountability piece is really one of the most valuable things we do, in my humble opinion. At any rate, L, who writes under the pseudonym LS Brierfield, said, in discussing her current projects: “One of my characters told me the other day that she wants to have her own series.”

I just found this idea so charming … that L’s characters speak to her, and that she listens to them and takes their comments seriously enough to share with our group. We should all listen to what our characters are telling us! Even nonfiction authors have characters in their stories.

 So, there you have it. My serendipitous lesson cultivated as I wandered among elves and fairies and zombies and out-of-this-word creatures. I think we can all do to get out of our self-imposed boxes and cages and limits every once in a while to see what other creatives are doing.

Here’s to imagination!

Laura

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If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put an Anatomy of a Book Launchevent like this together, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Make your networking pay off by FOLLOWING UP!

Much of this content is taken from our October 19, 2011 post.

We spent a few weeks discussing the importance of networking as a tool for authors to build their platforms. Here’s a recap of those posts.

Finally, we’re winding up with some advice about the single most important aspect of networking, and the one that is often the most overlooked: FOLLOW UP.

An All-Too-Realistic Scenario

Ever since he wrote his book, Taylor’s been envisioning it as the stepping stone to a keynote speaking career. While volunteering at a large community event, he meets the cousin of a booking agent for a prestigious speakers bureau. Taylor is an SBM* and he’s taken Marcie’s advice, rehearsing his pitch till it flows off his tongue effortlessly, so he makes an excellent impression on the cousin. The cousin promises to introduce Taylor to the booking agent, giving Taylor her card and asking him to be sure to drop her a message in a day or two.

At long last it’s all falling into place for Taylor. But he never gets to meet the booking agent – and not for the reason you might think. It’s not that the booking agent declined to represent him, but rather that he never sent the e-mail.

Sounds crazy, but people in situations just like this commit similar career-sabotaging acts every day. Fear of success shows up in many, many ways; failure to follow up is one of the most common. It’s also a situation over which you have 100 percent control.

Perhaps your situation is not quite so extreme. You’ve just met the speaker coordinator for a small community group. But you hit it off and they like you and appear interested in having you come to address their next meeting. They’ll even let you set up a table at the back of the room from which to sell your books. Are you primed to respond in a timely manner, or will you fall into one of the following traps?

Self-Sabotaging Excuses

If they were to explain it to you, people’s reasons for failing to follow up might seem quite understandable:

  • They haven’t been trained to follow up and they don’t know where to begin. Even the simplest tasks usually have multiple steps. When we don’t have systems in place or haven’t completely mapped out our strategies, fear of the unknown can cause us to freeze, sometimes keeping us from starting at all.
  • They tend to overthink things. Sure it’s great to have a plan, but beware making things much more complicated than they need to be. Some of us tend to “what if” ourselves right out of good decisions. “What if they don’t respond?” “What if she was just being nice?” You won’t know until you pick up that phone or send those e-mails.
  • They fall prey to the Perfectionist Monster. Certain people get bogged down in the details about how much there is to do and wanting to do it perfectly. Perfectionists are too often perfect at just one thing: watching the door hit them on the way out after someone else has gotten there first. Follow this mantra instead: DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.
  • They don’t prioritize their time. Much like having a system, knowing one’s priorities is essential. But anyone whose time budget is out of control can allow even the most important things to slip through the cracks.
  • Sometimes they just get bored. For adrenaline junkies, it’s the thrill of the chase that excites them. Once they’ve “arrived,” they’re quickly ready to move onto the next challenge and, as a result, feel that following up is the routine, unexciting part of pitching or prospecting. How many books do you think these folks sell?
  • While it is only an excuse, stress is very real and often quite debilitating. When we don’t manage our processes, have no sense of time, and/or procrastinate out of perfectionism, it’s no wonder we get stressed out. Stress is a distraction that can cause depression and other paralyzing behaviors that stop us from making what might otherwise be effortless progress.

These are all reasons smart, would-be-successful people fail to follow up. However, when you dig past the surface, they are just superficial excuses. What it really comes down to is that every one of these folks is likely afraid of success.

The only way through this fear
is to change your mindset.

Regardless of what you’ve heard from the people in your life … regardless of your own negative self-talk … it is imperative that you realize that you are worthy of succeeding. Remind yourself that you have the skills, contacts, experience, support – whatever you need – to watch your book(s) power their way to the top of your markets. And then pick up the phone, send that text, or message your new friend on Facebook. Follow Nike’s advice and just do it™ – and then be ready to embrace the success you deserve.

Tips to Improve Your Follow-Up Skills

  • Make notes about the person with whom you are trying to connect. These might include anything from  their hobbies and interests to their spouse’s name to their alma mater to their future plans. Doing so will make your follow-up conversation easier.
  • Pre-arrange the follow-up. Before you end the initial meeting, schedule a day and time for a subsequent conversation. ” Does next Wednesday morning at 10:15 work for you?”
  • Do it right now, while you’re thinking about it. Take action before your gremlin has a chance to talk you out of it. Just pick up the phone!
  • Don’t take things personally. Regardless of how well you employ your follow-up plans, you will find people who’ve forgotten about your appointment, are busy, have changed their minds, or may even cut you off. Do you remember the old deodorant commercial? Never let them see you sweat. And don’t take the situation personally. Just make another plan to follow up again and continue the conversation.
  • Be personal. Address your new friend by name and review the issues you touched on in your initial meeting. In addition, do your homework and if the opportunity presents itself, be ready to offer other useful, relevant information to further the conversation.
  • Be thorough, but be brief. Remind the person of where you met them (if it’s a brand new contact) and why you’re calling so they understand precisely why you are connecting with them. Remember, however, he or she is probably busy and may have a limited attention span. Make sure to limit your conversation to details they will relate to.
  • Become a resource. Remember that your goal is to create relationships, so avoid focusing entirely on yourself, your book, your request. Let your new friend know that you are a resource. Make them confident that knowing you and building a connection with you can be of significant assistance to them in some way.
  • Grab their attention. Be creative with your follow-up. If you’re connecting virtually, consider including multimedia elements such as relevant graphics or video. If you’re meeting them in person, take with you high-quality leave-behind materials. Leave them with a good impression.
  • Provide a clear call to action. Make clear at the end of your conversation or message your request for the next steps. Keep it simple, but be specific and tell them exactly what you want them to do next and by when.
  • Never be perceived as a pest! Though you may be bursting with excitement over the possibility that this connection could lead to the next phase of your success, do not under any circumstance chase the person. This will not only make you look desperate and pathetic, but it’s also amateurish and annoying. Keep in touch regularly, but don’t ever be the person who makes this person think, “Oh, God! Not him again!”

One important thing to keep in mind is that you only know what you know. So don’t fall into the trap of making assumptions. When someone doesn’t immediately return our phone call or e-mail message, we very often assume the worst – they’re just not interested – even if we have no information to back up that assumption. Sure, it might mean that they’re not interested. Or it might mean they had a family emergency and they’ve put their work on hold for a while.

Think about your own lack of follow up – the very topic of this post. Are you not following up because you’re not interested? Sure, once in a while that’s true. But equally often, you’re very interested – nevertheless, you don’t get around to the follow up for some reason. If the other person were to contact you, would you jump all over the chance to resurrect the conversation? If your answer is yes, put yourself in their shoes, and quit making assumptions.

Follow-up is your friend. It is one of the most important tools in your networking toolbox. Make my friend Helen Goodman, of Primo Promos, your role model. Helen has the most outstanding follow-up skills of anyone I have met in all the years I’ve been in business. She gets back to you the same day, goes out of her way to get you accurate quotes and help you order your products, and she does it all with a cheerful attitude.

So what’s YOUR follow-up plan. Share your tips and ideas in the comments section below. And in the meantime, happy networking!

Laura

*Savvy Book Marketer

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit our website to read up on more networking tips and advice, including links, ways to make connections, and day-to-day networking scenarios. If you’d like help setting up YOUR book marketing strategy, call us today for your complimentary 30-minute consultation! 602.518.5376

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Want to stand out in your networking circles? Get involved!

Well, we took a little hiatus (short for us!) to do some much-needed work and revamping of the Write | Market | Design website. It’s not done – a good website is never done – but it’s vastly improved. Many of the broken links are no longer broken. We’ve added some depth and grit to our pages. Feel free to take a look and give us some feedback.

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Now we’ll move on to our discussion about the benefit of getting involved in your networking groups.

Many years ago, I knew a man from the same organization where we did the Hokey Pokey. Stan was a Melaleuca distributor and I remember two other things about him: (1) he publicly bitched and moaned at every opportunity about being single and wanting to meet a woman, and (2) he complained that after a year with our group, he’d never gotten any business from it. Of course, all he did was show up for the meetings 5 minutes before they started, recited his boring 30-second intro during the meeting, tried to sell the people he met on the value of a Melaleuca membership, and left 5 minutes after the meeting ended. Is it any wonder he never got any business?

About the same time, I was asked to act as greeter at a meeting for a different group. I went to the front door of the hotel where we met, greeting the guests and members as they arrived and directing them to our meeting room. A new member walked in, and I greeted her by name: “Hello, Kerri!” I don’t know who was more surprised that I knew her name, she or I? After my initial shock wore off, I realized that I knew her name because I was an officer, and part of that responsibility involved getting to know every member – even the new ones.

In Phoenix, as I’ve mentioned, there’s a TON of competition for our networking time and dollars. As a result, many groups are struggling for membership as they find themselves redundant and/or ineffective. The groups that thrive have active members who care about the mission, vision, and future of their organizations.

Most networking groups have boards of officers made up of volunteers. The better ones have regular planning and strategy meetings. Larger groups also invite non-office members to take active roles by serving on committees.

If you want to increase your visibility and improve your networking ROI, get involved in the leadership of your favorite group. Will it take time? Yes. How much depends on the specific role and the nature of the particular group. Will it benefit you? OF COURSE! You will develop leadership skills, come out of your shell if you’re the quiet type, and be visible so that all the members become familiar with you and your business. Most importantly, you will become an indispensable part of the team that makes your group function properly.

As my friend Katreena Hayes-Wood (who needs no help to come out of her shell) says, “It’s time to step in, step up, and step out!”

Well, we’re about at the end of our Author Networking series. One more post about the importance of follow-up. See you then!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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There’s still time to get in on our 10-week program: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS. It starts Sept 5 and goes for 10 consecutive weeks. Sign up for single classes or pay for all 10 and receive a 25 percent discount. Week 1: Facebook Fan Pages (9/5/12); Week 2: Twitter (9/12/12); Week 3: LinkedIn (9/19/12); Week 4: Pinterest (9/26/12); Week 5: SlideShare (10/3/12); Week 6: YouTube (10/10/12); Week 7: StumbleUpon (10/17/12); Week 8: Ning (10/24/12); Week 9: Blogging 1 (10/31/12); Blogging 2 (11/7/12).

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