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Are your branding and marketing message cohesive?

A client recently forwarded me information about a relatively new book distribution company he was thinking about checking out. I did a cursory scan of the website and noticed an odd thing right off the bat: its use of this decorative font that, while pretty, is very difficult to read.

Coupled with the busy picture backdrop and the text that gets lost in that picture, it makes for a pretty unsuccessful sales page. That seems to be a preferred headline font throughout the site. Red Flag No. 1.

With that, I send this response to my client:

This may sound really peculiar, but I would doubt this company’s ability to deliver, just based on that crazy font they used for their headlines. It may be pretty, but it’s really difficult to read, which means it’s impractical. If that’s the choice for their own marketing, it causes me to question the rest of their planning and strategies.

That was when I decided to write this post. But first, I went back and delved a little deeper into IndieReader.

Among other things, it offers a service that promises to get books “in front of [as many as] 37,000 industry professionals.” Yes – that’s what that tiny line in the super curly fancy font says. No word on who the professionals are. Truly, the gal who answers the phone or the intern who reads the slush pile could be classified as an industry professional. Red Flag No. 2.

The third line on their service description page smartly plays to the author’s ego: Sure your friend may have downloaded the Kindle version of your book, but you know what you really want is to see your book in bookstores!

If you know anything about what it takes to get into a bookstore, one of your first questions should be about the return policy. When you sell books to a bookstore, they are essentially bought on consignment. That is, most bookstores require authors to accept the return of unsold books – meaning the authors have to buy them back from the store. Imagine how careful you’d be when sending your books off to the store – or how nicely they’d be packaged if they were being drop-shipped straight from the printer. The idea being that they’d arrive in pristine shape, ready to go on the shelf.

Now imagine a $10/hour college student pulling your unsold books off the same shelf – assuming they ever actually made it onto the shelf in the first place – and throwing them, willy-nilly, into a box that gets shipped back to you. Covers bent, pages torn – do they care? Not a whit. This is what is often involved in agreeing to a store’s return policy.

But when I clicked the link to See IR In-Store FAQs to learn more about how IndieReader deals with stores’ return policies, I was greeted with the following 404 error screen. Red Flag No. 3.

Now I don’t know anything more about this company than what I’ve written here. But based on what I’ve seen, I would not advise my client – or anyone, for that matter – to use them. At least not without a huge amount of due diligence, including insisting on talking to a half-dozen of their previous clients.

Most people think of branding as a logo – but it goes much further than that. Branding does involve your logo, but it also involves your tagline, your color scheme, the look and feel of your website, blog, social media, and marketing collateral. And most importantly, it is comprised of your promised deliverables – and then how you execute on that promise.

Are your branding decisions cohesive? Are they communicating the message you want them to convey to your readers, fans, visitors, and prospective buyers? If you’re known for writing paranormal thrillers today, but you direct people to an old website designed to sell your erotic poetry, they won’t stick around long enough to dig through and find the new books. If you’re promising to deliver excellent info about helping folks overcome addictions, you need to make sure nothing in your branding gives prospective readers/clients a reason to doubt you.

Whatever you’re writing, make sure that all of your marketing materials – both on- and offline – are coherent and represent you as well as possible.

Happy marketing!

Laura

__________________

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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Recap and marketing lessons from TFOB 2017

Although you’d be hard-pressed to prove it just yet, I am striving to post much more regularly this year. Yep – get ready for … well, if not an onslaught, at least a lot more posts than you’ve been seeing over the past 18 months. It’s time – and I’m ready. I’m learning lots every day, and want to share what I’m learning so you can be a be smarter author/marketer.

Toward the learning, I’ve spent the last three weekends in education mode – the first at the Arizona Authors’ Association “Crafting the Written Word” Conference. The following weekend found me in Tucson at the inaugural Tucson Self-Publishing Expo. And this past weekend, I made another jaunt down to Wildcat territory for the Tucson Festival of Books.

I’m starting chronologically backwards in my sharing because I promised some people I’d email them when I got this post up, so I want to get to that first.

I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your phone, but mine is something of a casual friendship. I don’t have it on me 24/7 like a lot of people. I often have the ringer volume low or off. I’m just not as attached to Neari (you know, kind of like Siri) as some people are to their smartphones. Which is, no doubt, how I could get to the rest stop just outside Casa Grande, Ariz. before realizing I had left my phone at home in Phoenix. Ah, it took me back to the good old days when I prayed I would get there without any trouble and that my husband would see my phone on my dresser and not worry when I didn’t call or answer his texts throughout the day. (He didn’t.)

The worst part about not having my phone with me was not knowing the time – so I stopped at a truck stop and bought a very cute watch that I’ll probably never wear again. The second worst thing was being without my camera. Especially at an event like the TFOB, where there were plenty of things I wanted to remember with pictures. Thanks to the kindness of my friend Rita Goldner, award-winning author of ORANGUTAN: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy, who lent me her Canon Power Shot camera (remember the days when phones and cameras were two different devices?), I was able to capture images of the many booths and authors featured below.

Although they didn’t have a booth to themselves, Amylynn Bright and her sister Ava Bright (together, The Quill Sisters) had a gorgeous table in the Romance tent.


In the same tent, Anne Marie Becker also had a beautiful table. Someone taught those romance authors a thing about display design!


Best-selling author Cathy McDavid had a creative marketing idea – a blind date with a book. Anyone who bought one of her many cowboy romances would win a secret book – wrapped in plain tissue paper. Cathy says she can’t take credit for the idea – she borrowed it from someone else. It’s clever nonetheless.


Dr. Deborah Westbury had one of the  most beautiful booth displays I saw at the entire event. She credited her friend (the blonde gal whose left arm is visible in the bottom left quadrant of the picture, behind the woman with her hand on the poster) with the design.


The first thing you saw upon approaching Elaine A. Powers’ booth were the lizard feet.

Known as the “lizard lady,” Powers writes children’s books about lizards and reptiles. Her display was eye-catching, though she did have the benefit of lots of open space next to her.


College pals (Go, Wildcats!) and authors Jay J. Falconer and M.L. Banner caught my attention with their cleverly worded banner title: AUTHORS OF DOOM, GLOOM AND BOOM! They had an excellent display, using the booth well to accommodate both authors’ books.

They also employed an interesting marketing idea, Lexy the sleuthy-looking mannequin, to entice buyers into a free book giveaway.

Lastly, M.L. Banner knows how to work a website. Whether or not you want to download his free books, visit his site to take a look at an excellent free membership enticement every author could learn from.


Fantasy author Jessica C. Feinberg knows her audience: dragon lovers. She designed her booth to capture their attention and imagination with cleverly worded signs and dragons in every corner. Even the dad accompanying these boys was entranced.


Jody Mackey also knows whose attention she’s looking to catch with her pink tulle, flowers, and all things little girls. Her Sally Loves… books are gorgeously designed – as is her fantastic website. I think that must have been the father of a daughter, don’t you?


Another stunning booth was Natalie Wright’s – complete with aliens and celestial-themed decos. She covered every corner of her booth – even making great use of the ceiling space!


Some booths used their exterior and interior wall space creatively to attract attention. The UA College of Behavioral Sciences put up a chalkboard (remember those?) that asked the question, “What would you title your story?” Bet they had a field day with those answers!

The Literacy Connects organization took advantage of the festival’s proximity to March Madness to create their own bracket, this one for iconic authors. Players chose their favorites, who were moved along through the brackets as the Festival continued.

And the Tucson Chapter of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation put a clever twist on things by posting the signatures of famous authors on the exterior wall of their booth. Again, it helps to have an open exterior wall or extra booth space. Those authors/groups with smaller spaces had to become even more imaginative.


A big hit at last year’s LA Times Festival of Books was a “wheel of fortune” giveaway at one of the booths. And I mean BIG hit – every time I walked past that booth, people were waiting 20 deep to spin the wheel and win something – anything, it seemed. Well, the good news is that Tucson Electric Power copied the idea to great success this year at the TFOB. The bad news is that they weren’t the only one employing it, by far. I lost count after seeing a half-dozen different booths offering their own smaller, lesser versions of the WOF. Hint for next year: get a new idea.


Strangely for me, I only bought two books at the TFOB this year.

The first was from author Katherine Rambo, a book titled The World Came to Tucson, about the history of the world-famous Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I got that for my rock-collecting mother-in-law.

The other book I bought was from author and baseball rock star, Ila Jane Borders. Making My Pitch is her memoir about becoming the first woman to play Major League Baseball, a fact that somehow didn’t make as many waves as it should have. Ila now has a baseball school for girls. I bought that one for my friend, Steve, who is both the most voracious reader and biggest baseball fan I know. But I can’t wait to read it first!


There were some bad booths, too. I took pictures, but I won’t share them here. Shaming people publicly never made anyone friends. It was hot this year in Tucson – and those with booths facing directly into the sun were at an unfair disadvantage. Nevertheless, if you commit to an event like a big book festival, make the most of it. Get a hat. Douse yourself in sun screen. Get a spray bottle and offer to wet down people as they walk past – that’ll get ’em to come on over to your booth. What you don’t do is hover in the shady corner like a vampire trying to avoid sunlight.

Get out from behind your table – or at least stand up and put your damned phone away! I wonder how many potential sales are lost at events because the vendor is sitting down or too busy on their phone to notice their booth visitor. You definitely need to find the happy medium between being overly solicitous and ignoring people – but it’s there.

At any rate, that’s my rundown. I’ll have another report at the end of April from the other side of the fence, as I and nine other authors from Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion attempt to woo book-loving Los Angeleans at the 2017 LA Times Festival of Books. On the off chance you’ll be there, we’re in booth #025 in the Cardinal section. Want to join us – or know an author who wants to? We’ve got space for 2 more authors! Email LABookFestival@WriteMarketDesign.com for details.

In the meantime, keep doing great stuff! And watch for my avalanche, er plethora … OK, maybe increase, yes, an increase in posts in the coming weeks!

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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I wanna be like Apple (and Starbucks and Whole Foods)!

If you bought an iPhone during the last three months of 2014, you were one of 74.5 MILLION people who did so. That’s one iPhone sold every nine seconds for three straight months. I have an Android phone, but I’m surrounded by iPhone users and definitely see the value. Here’s the lesson most service providers can take from this: you don’t have to compete on price to succeed. In fact, competing on price can actually hurt your bottom line.

iphone 6

When it comes to book sales, there’s a definite range of prices the market will bear for your titles, depending on the genre, format (ebook vs. paperback vs. hardback vs. audiobook), competition, etc. I’ve seen people who’ve written long, self-published novels charging $25 per paperback book. The fact is that an average reader is unlikely to plunk down that kind of cash for an unknown author. However, for those who are selling ancillary products or services related to your books (if you’re not, you should be!), there’s probably room to think about raising your prices, or not setting them at the bottom to begin with.

In order to raise your prices, though, the first person who has to value your products or services is YOU. You cannot possibly sell something to someone else if you don’t believe in it. I remember a coaching session I had years ago when my coach and I discussed this issue for my business. I was reluctant to make the big leap in price she was suggesting, though I did eventually agree to it. She made me rehearse again and again saying out loud how much I charge for my services. I knew the value and expertise I bring to my author and public speaking clients, developed through years of hard work, research, trial-and-error – yet I was afraid that charging more would scare people away. It took many, many repetitions before I could get the words out without my sentence going up at the end, as if I was asking a question. Now, I am selective about my clients, and I ask – and get – what my services are worth.

Yep – there’s a tendency to want to charge less to get the client, particularly for people who are new in their businesses. You can do that, but competing on price is a no-win situation, because there will almost always be someone willing to charge a fraction less. Do you really want to be the low-price leader – the Walmart or Geiko of your industry? Or would you rather follow in the footsteps of Apple, Starbucks, and Whole Foods?

If this concept is new to you, here are a few questions to ask yourself. Do the research and be sure of the answers in order to get to a place where you know your value and are willing to ask for commensurate compensation.

  • Who is the ideal prospect for your product or service?
  • How will they use it?
  • Will it fill a new need, or will it be replacing a product or service already in place?
  • How does your prospect make his or her buying decisions?
  • Which pain points does your product or service address for your prospect?
  • What is your prospect’s opinion about others in your industry and their offerings?
  • How do your industry colleagues promote, price, and sell their products or services?

Know your value. Listen to your prospects tell you what they need. Tell them how you can help them, ask whether they are ready to commit today, and then let them speak – even if it means an uncomfortably long silence.

There are millions of blog posts and books on sales that go into this stuff in much greater depth. Many authors, though, shy away from sales training because they don’t see themselves as salespeople. If you’re not selling and marketing your book, though, you probably have an expensive hobby on your hands.

Here’s to being more like Apple when we grow up!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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We’re one month into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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When networking comes full circle

People tend to either love networking or hate it. I remember when I first moved to Phoenix and a VERY connected woman I met asked me, “Do you know So-and-So? How about this other So-and-So? What about the So-and-So from that important organization?” I didn’t know any of them – and what’s more, I was flummoxed at the expectation that I should know them. How does one get to know such people? I remember thinking.

One gets to know such people through networking.

OK, so is networking the best way to market your book? Not directly, perhaps, but there are loads of ancillary benefits that can help you indirectly.

As we’ve established, I didn’t know anyone when I first started my business. So I networked my little butt off. For my first year or so in business, I had two, maybe three clients. So I kept networking. And between finding my own clients, I spent a lot of time connecting the other people I was meeting to each other. I’d go to an event and meet a tax attorney. Then I’d go somewhere else and meet someone who mentioned in conversation that they were looking for a tax attorney. So I’d connect the two. There’s actually an art to doing this that I’ll discuss in a later post, but the general gist was that I put a lot of people together. It’s easy to do when you listen well. And when you don’t ask for anything in return, it creates a ton of goodwill.

Eventually the leads started coming in for my business – and it began growing. That was 10 years ago, and some of the seeds I sowed all those years ago are still paying off in referrals today.

One of the first people I met through my slowly burgeoning network was my friend Connie, an impressive international sales trainer. Connie works on the self-sabotaging mindset that keeps people from prospecting and self-promoting. And she, herself, is fearless.

Last week, we attended a local meeting of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), and Connie shared a success story that contains a great tip for almost any business owner, including you – my dear Marcie Brock readers. A few years ago, I introduced Connie to a website called Help a Reporter (HARO). Have you ever wondered where news sources like The New York Times, NBC, USA Today, or national radio broadcasts find the people they interview for their stories? Often, they use a site like Help a Reporter.

Through this site, you can register to become either a “source” or a “reporter.” As a source, you plug in your areas of interest and you sign up to receive daily e-mail alerts with news queries on those subjects. As a reporter, you can submit a request to find a source on almost any topic under the sun. And, the “reporter” status is loosely enough defined that you can register as an author, a blogger, or simply as someone conducting research in a given area. (There are a few caveats – please see the comment below.)

Best of all – there is no charge for the service. That’s right – it’s completely free. Each e-mail begins with an ad – and these notices go out to tens of thousands of sources daily, so the ads really pay off for the advertisers. This site gives you the chance to become a source for major organizations like The Wall Street Journal as well as smaller venues like our very own Marcie Brock’s blog. So chances are that if you’ve written a book, you’ve got some specialized knowledge – and a stroll over to Help a Reporter could prove extremely beneficial to you.

It sure proved beneficial to Connie. She answered a HARO query a few months back from a CNN reporter and was quoted in the reporter’s story. Then Connie followed up with the reporter, asking if she might be interested in a column Connie had written on the same subject as the initial query. The reporter said, “Sure!” I edited the column, Connie emailed it to her, and the reporter used parts of it in another story. Connie then followed up again, asking the reporter if she knew of any organizations looking for speakers on this same topic. Guess what – Connie has booked speaking gigs in Dallas and San Diego as a direct result of this follow-up call, and three more cities are pending!

Morals of the story

I met Connie almost a decade ago through networking. She’s become a great friend and a valued client. I shared with Connie the useful information about signing up for HARO, and she jumped on it. She’s landed at least a half-dozen opportunities from it – but this latest one was huge. And Connie brought it full circle by sharing her success at our ABWA group. She gave me credit for introducing her to HARO, but she created her own goodwill by passing the info along to the other members.

I’m guessing you can do the same in your own spheres of influence.

Here’s to great networking, maximizing leads, and marketing your book!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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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Building a platform from the ground up

OK. You likely noticed that I’ve been away for a while. Turns out two blog challenges in a row – one as a participant and one as the host – kicked my ass. I was a little tired in early July and just decided to take a couple weeks off. Then, I had a wholly unexpected allergic reaction to some lavender oil, and it set me on butt for an additional month. Headaches. Very pretty bumps on my face. Sleeplessness and ensuing exhaustion. I did just enough work to meet client needs, and even that was slow and cumbersome. I don’t recommend such an experience to anyone.

I’ve been touching my toes back in the social media waters these last couple weeks and finally feel it’s time to get back to my blog – which I love. I have missed being a part of things! So, here’s the first thing to come to mind.

Laura

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I have a new client who came to me as a referral – a new author. Her book is a 122,000-word World War II romance. She was seeking information/help with publishing it. In our first conversation, we discussed print options as well as eBook distribution. Since her primary goal was just to “get the book out there,” she decided to go for the simpler eBook option to start. To save her the money and effort involved in formatting/layout for each individual platform, we went with the one-size-fits-all Smashwords for distribution.

Smashwords is a good solution for an all-text book like a novel. It does not work as well, however, for books that incorporate any sort of graphics or variation in headings/font sizes. All we had to do was design a cover, fully justify the text, remove the page numbers, slip it into a Word ’97-2003 doc format, and it was good to go. Uploading it to Smashwords took a matter of minutes, and voila – there it sits. Ready and waiting for people to come and buy it. Keyword: WAITING.

This is virtually every new author’s dilemma. The book is done – now how the hell do I get the readers-cum-buyers to show up?

It was an especially challenging question for my client, because she had zero  online presence. I am NOT exaggerating. No mailing list. No blog. No website. No Facebook. No Twitter. No LinkedIn. No social media of any kind. She has a computer which she used for writing her book, and she has email. That’s it. So we are literally starting at the bottom to build her an online presence.

While there are many different paths to the same end goal – marketing her book – it was her choice to begin with blogging. I believe every author must start with the thing that is the most comfortable for them. It’s not going to do you any good if I help you build a Facebook fan page but you just don’t want to be on Facebook because you’re so uncomfortable with it.

So we set up the blog. It’s called Fox Tales, if you want to check it out – but don’t expect any posts yet. Baby steps … did I mention we’re starting from the ground floor?

Next she’ll start exploring the blog. Practice posting. And begin writing. She plans to follow my recommendations for the 6 steps to blogging success:

  1. Writing 40 to 50 posts in a ROW (weekends included) from the date of her launch.
  2. Writing quality content that is of interest to her targeted readers: lovers of historical fiction and romance.
  3. Using an image with every post.
  4. Selecting good keywords for every post.
  5. Posting on a regular schedule after the initial 40 to 50 posts.
  6. Commenting on other blogs on similar topics, and being generous with her feedback to commenters on her blog.

Will it be an uphill battle? Sure. Is it going to take a while? You bet. Can it be done? Of course!

Regardless of where you are in terms of writing or publishing your book, it’s not too soon to be thinking about marketing it! Take an honest survey of your online presence. How big is your platform, really? Your email list? Your social media contacts? Your speaking gigs? Your networking circles? Who will be clamoring to buy the book the minute it goes on sale? How excited will they be to share it with the others in their circles?

If this all scares you just a bit, that’s OK. No need to panic. Just pick up the phone and give me a call (602.518.5376) or drop me an email. The initial consultation is complimentary.

You wrote/are writing a great book. It deserves a great readership. Make sure your prospective readers have the chance to become actual readers!

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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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12 independent publishing facts for Independence Day

  1. According to a USA Today poll, 82 percent of Americans want to publish a book, while The New York Times reports that 81 percent of people believe they have a book in them.
  2. Almost 900,000 books were self published in 2011.
  3. According to R.R. Bowker, there are presently some 73,000 “small” publishers in America. “Small” means having one to 10 active books in print.
  4. Males make up 54% of small independent publishers, while 42 percent are female and 3 percent won’t say.
  5. On average it takes 475 hours to write a fiction book and 725 hours to write a nonfiction book.
  6. It takes an average of 10 to 15 hours to design a book cover.
  7. On average, the editing process takes 61 hours to complete.
  8. Fiction is considered successful if it sells 5,000 copies. A nonfiction book is deemed successful when it sells 7,500 copies.
  9. Most authors never sell more than 150 copiesof their book.
  10. According to Self Publishing Resources, nonfiction books outsell fiction by two to one, but at least 20 percent more fiction is being published via the Internet and POD.
  11. Juvenile and poetry are the most popular self-published fiction genres, while self-help, how-to and business lead in the nonfiction genres.
  12. The largest advance ever paid for a self-published book was the spectacular $4.125 million Simon & Schuster paid for Richard Paul Evans’s The Christmas Box.

Laura

RESOURCES:

http://www.mypublishinguniverse.com/a-few-facts-about-self-publishing-283.php

http://makemarketpublishyourbook.blogspot.com/2012/03/us-publishing-facts-and-exciting-time.html

http://chilawoychik.com/2012/05/15/publishing-facts-fancy-with-a-few-surprises

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

There’s still time to get in on our 10-week program: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS. It starts July 18 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 (7/18/12); Week 2: Twitter (7/25/12); Week 3: LinkedIn (8/1/12); Week 4: Pinterest (8/8/12); Week 5: SlideShare (8/15/12); Week 6: YouTube (8/22/12); Week 7: StumbleUpon (8/29/12); Week 8: Ning (9/5/12); Week 9: Blogging 1 (9/12/12); Blogging 2 (9/19/12).

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7 tips for getting back on track after a diversion

I have a friend who recently returned from a month-long spiritual retreat in New Zealand. We met a few days after her return, and she apologized on several occasions for being a bit spacey and disconnected in her conversation. The retreat was an incredible experience for her, but returning to her busy entrepreneurial life in Phoenix was taking some adjustment. “There’s definitely a transition process – time needed to readjust and recondition myself to being here,” she explained.

Diversions are an inevitable part of life. We may have a goal (like publishing or marketing our book) and be moving along toward it quite swimmingly. Then something happens – either through our choosing or otherwise, we find ourselves going in another direction (like a 28-day blog challenge). So how do we get back on track?

Here are seven ideas that may help you refocus and get back in alignment with your original path.

  1. Reassess your goals. Perhaps in the diversion, you’ve found that you want to realign your goals. Maybe on reviewing them, you see that a few need reprioritizing. Just as it’s hard to get where you’re going without a map (or GPS), you won’t meet any of your goals if you don’t know what they are. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with changing them!
  2. Take it slowly. Don’t expect to be back up to full speed in an instant. Give yourself some time to get back into the swing of things.
  3. Give yourself a break. It’s really easy to become our own worst enemy by setting unreasonable expectations and then dumping on ourselves when we don’t achieve them. Yes – there’s a difference between stumbling a little to get back on track and simply avoiding the track altogether. As long as you’re making an effort, give yourself the credit you deserve.
  4. Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating properly, sleeping enough, and getting regular exercise. It’s unreasonable to demand superior performance from a body that’s receiving shoddy treatment, so make sure you do the things your body needs to stay healthy.
  5. Create – or review – your vision board and affirmations. Images help anchor your goals and make them immediately real. If you’ve already got a vision board, take some time to look it over and let it reenergize you. Review your affirmations. All those dreams are still waiting – they just need you to reconnect with them to get the energy flowing again.
  6. Ask for support. Accountability is one of the best ways to see your goals through to completion. First set realistic deadlines for them. Then find someone who will check in with you periodically to make sure you’re staying on track. Whether that’s a life coach, a fellow author, or your best friend – knowing they’ll be asking about your progress is sometimes all it takes to reignite the success fire.
  7. Celebrate the victories. As you begin to cross things off your to-do list or make progress with your micromovements, celebrate each one! Little victories pave the way for bigger, better things to come.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

There’s still time to get in on our 10-week program: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS. It starts July 18 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 (7/18/12); Week 2: Twitter (7/25/12); Week 3: LinkedIn (8/1/12); Week 4: Pinterest (8/8/12); Week 5: SlideShare (8/15/12); Week 6: YouTube (8/22/12); Week 7: StumbleUpon (8/29/12); Week 8: Ning (9/5/12); Week 9: Blogging 1 (9/12/12); Blogging 2 (9/19/12).

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Grab your flag, sparklers, and bunting – July 4th book marketing ideas!

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

Well, Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year. That means you either get a gloriously long weekend – or you get an extra day off in the middle of the week. Either way, it’s a perfect opportunity to market your book, regardless of the topic! Freedom, history, and patriotism are just a few of the themes of this holiday. Your job is to find the natural tie-ins and leverage them as best you can.

If these it”s too late to use thes ideas THIS year, keep them on hand for next year and/or decide NOW how you can apply some of them to the NEXT HOLIDAY or seasonal event. We’ve got a few coming up between now and the end of the year:

  • Back to School (August/September)
  • Labor Day (September 3)
  • Halloween (October 31)
  • Election Day (November 6)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving (November 22)
  • Hanukkah (December 8-16)
  • Christmas (December 25)

Remember, the ideas here are just suggestions. Your goal should be to try them out and see what works for YOU. Even better, though, would be to use this list as a jumping off point, getting really creative and coming up with your own unique book marketing strategies!

Have a wonderful July 4th holiday!

  1. Get out that digital camera for your own holiday celebration. Your readers want to CONNECT with you. You don’t have to take them on a detailed tour of your home or interview every relative at the family picnic … but giving them a glimpse of your life so they can feel closer to you will go a long way toward building rapport and a lifelong fan.
  2. Purchase or dust off your banner, head to the dollar store for an Uncle Sam hat, and get yourself a spot in your local Independence Day parade. If vendor booths are available, you may be the only author there!
  3. Host your own Independence Day event. Sponsor a pancake breakfast at a local restaurant or do a holiday book signing at the flag shop.
  4. Drape your car with red,white, and blue bunting and a big sign with your book cover and website on it. Don’t be afraid to BE memorable!
  5. Make sure to carry business cards and/or postcards with you at all times so that you can hand them out when you meet new people. Leave them behind at coffeehouses and shops that allow it.
  6. Give away free flags at your book signings. This tip doesn’t have to be limited to July 4th. Find flags for all the holidays – or that match the theme of your book. Put your website on them somewhere so they serve as ongoing reminders of how to find you.
  7. Use www.GotPrint.com to send holiday postcards to those on your list for whom you have mailing addresses.
  8. Use your blog or social media sites to give away a couple free copies of your book to celebrate the holiday. Throw in a couple 4th of July bookmarks with your website and contact info.
  9. Write an article for your community newspaper, tying your book to local Independence Day traditions. You may have put on your creative thinking cap, but as an SBM, I know you can do it! (Note – most small monthly papers have about a 2-month lead time, meaning that’s how far in advance of publishing they need to receive the article.)
  10. The 4th of July is all about picnics and comfort food. Come up with a dozen of your favorite recipes (if they’re related to your book, all the better) and put together a little pamphlet or eBook to give away for free via your website, blog, or social media platforms. Write a media release about the recipe book giveaway.

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

There’s still time to get in on our 10-week program: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS. It starts July 18 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 (7/18/12); Week 2: Twitter (7/25/12); Week 3: LinkedIn (8/1/12); Week 4: Pinterest (8/8/12); Week 5: SlideShare (8/15/12); Week 6: YouTube (8/22/12); Week 7: StumbleUpon (8/29/12); Week 8: Ning (9/5/12); Week 9: Blogging 1 (9/12/12); Blogging 2 (9/19/12).

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A commitment to book marketing means MAKING time for it.

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

Happy 4th of July to all! Just in case you missed it, we did a rare Saturday post this weekend offering 10 book marketing tips for the Independence Day holiday.

Now, we’re back to the topic at hand: finding TIME to market our books.

You will never find time for anything.
If you want
the time, you must make it.

– Charles Buxton

So, as SBMs*, we’re in agreement that we’re COMMITTED to marketing our books. Even if we’re very busy and time is an elusive commodity. As the above quote from Charles Buxton indicates, it will not be a matter of finding time for book marketing, but rather making time for it. It may be helpful to remind yourself that you made time to WRITE the book, didn’t you?

Only you can decide which time works best for you when it comes to your book marketing plan. Maybe it’s early morning, before the family is up and moving around. Perhaps it’s late at night, after all are in bed. Could be weekends. The important thing is that you carve out time on a regular basis. Of course, certain tasks like phone calls will need to be done during business hours – but more than likely, if you schedule carefully, you can accomplish such little jobs during your lunch hour.

If you’re still in the process of writing your book, scheduling time for your work moves from important to critical.

Don’t be afraid to use your resources and built-in support network: your family and friends. Make sure they understand how important this book project is to you, and why – and then empower them to assist in your success. Whether that’s helping with chores, keeping quiet while you’re working, or just making sure they get up for school without needing you to nag them. Perhaps a friend could take the little ones for a few hours a week. Maybe you need to be a little more assertive with your partner regarding household errands.

Above all, assume the important people in your life are in your corner and cheering you on. Even in the unfortunate situation that they are not, you can still make time for marketing your book. It may take you a little longer, but the steps are the same, and you can do it if you remain focused, diligent, and active!

See you Thursday!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

We’d love it if you’d take a few minutes to give us some feedback via SurveyMonkey about an upcoming Author Sales Training Webinar series we’ve got in the works. Anyone who completes the survey and provides a viable e-mail address will be eligible to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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

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

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, June 30 – How much TIME will you devote to marketing your book?

Monday, June 27 Start with ONE book marketing strategy, and BE DILIGENT about it!

Thursday, June 23 – INTERESTED or COMMITTED – What’s the difference when it comes to book marketing?


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10 Independence Day book marketing tips for independently publishing authors

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

Happy 4th of July weekend! Here’s a special gift for all of our SBMs* – an extremely rare Saturday post, in honor of the big holiday weekend. This is a list of 10 book marketing tips directly related to the 4th of July holiday. I realize that many of these are probably arriving too late for you to implement this holiday, but there are still two things you can do with them: (1) keep them on hand for next year, and (2) decide NOW what you can apply to the NEXT HOLIDAY … the next major one being Halloween, a full four months from now.

This list is a radical departure from the norm for this blog, where we’ve been examining one tip per post in depth. Our plan is to walk you through every facet of a crafting a successful book marketing campaign from scratch. So if you go back to the first post and read in order, you’ll notice a logical progression. Nevertheless, each post also stands on its own.

Certain tips on this list will receive expansion in future posts – but some are pretty self-explanatory. Remember, the ideas here are just suggestions. The goal is to have you try them out and see what works. Even better, though, would be to use this list as a jumping off point, getting really creative and coming up with your own unique book marketing strategies!

Have a wonderful July 4th holiday!

  1. Get out that digital camera for your own holiday celebration. Your readers want to CONNECT with you. You don’t have to take them on a detailed tour of your home or interview every relative at the family picnic … but giving them a glimpse of your life so they can feel closer to you will go a long way toward building rapport and a lifelong fan.
  2. Purchase or dust off your banner, head to the dollar store for an Uncle Sam hat, and get yourself a spot in your local Independence Day parade. If vendor booths are available, you’ll probably be the only author there!
  3. Host your own Independence Day event. Sponsor a pancake breakfast at a local restaurant or do a holiday book signing at the flag shop.
  4. Drape your car with red,white, and blue bunting and a big sign with your book title and Web site on it. Don’t be afraid to BE memorable!
  5. Make sure to carry business cards and/or postcards with you at all times so that you can hand them out when you meet new people or leave them behind at coffeehouses and shops that allow it.
  6. Give away free flags at your book signings. This tip doesn’t have to be limited to July 4th. Find flags for all the holidays – or for whatever the theme of your book is. Put your Web site on it somewhere, so it serves as an ongoing reminder of how to find you.
  7. Use www.GotPrint.com to send holiday postcards to those on your list for whom you have mailing addresses. Don’t have many mailing addresses? We’ll talk in a future post about ways to gather those little pieces of gold.
  8. Use your blog or social media sites to give away a couple free copies of your book to celebrate the holiday. Throw in a couple 4th of July bookmarks with your Web site and contact info.
  9. Write an article for your community newspaper, tying your book to local Independence Day traditions. You may have put on your creative thinking cap, but as an SBM, I know you can do it! (Note – most small monthly papers have about a 2-month lead time, meaning that’s how far in advance of publishing they need to receive the article.)
  10. The 4th of July is all about picnics and comfort food. Come up with a dozen of your favorite recipes (if they’re related to your book, all the better) and put together a little pamphlet or eBook to give away for free via your Web site, blog, or social media platforms. Write a media release about the recipe book giveaway.

See you Monday!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

We’d love it if you’d take a few minutes to give us some feedback via SurveyMonkey about an upcoming Author Sales Training Webinar series we’ve got in the works. Anyone who completes the survey and provides a viable e-mail address will be eligible to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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

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

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, June 30 – How much TIME will you devote to marketing your book?

Monday, June 27 Start with ONE book marketing strategy, and BE DILIGENT about it!

Thursday, June 23 – INTERESTED or COMMITTED – What’s the difference when it comes to book marketing?


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How much TIME will you devote to marketing your book?

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

In a recent post, we discussed the difference between being interested and being committed. It will come as no surprise that becoming an SBM* requires the latter: COMMITMENT. Today we’re going to talk about one of the biggest commitments you must make if you really want to get the World’s Best Book into the hands of as many readers as possible: TIME.

Ohhhh. I can hear the groans across the airwaves! “Time? That’s the thing I have the least of.” To quote Cher from Moonstruck: “Snap out of it!” Do you want to sell books or not?

OK, I’m really not diminishing the fact that you’re busy. Here I am typing this with one hand while holding my dog’s leash in the other and balancing a laundry basket on my head. I get busy! But busy is just life in our culture these days. What busy CANNOT be is an excuse not to carve out time to market your book.

I have a good friend who has an amazing book concept that has been in development … for more than FOUR years. The reason? Life keeps getting in the way. Don’t let this be you.

This is where a little thing called self-regulation comes in. According to a white paper by Roy F. Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs for Social and Personality Psychology Compass, “Self-regulation is the self ’s capacity for altering its behaviors.” Pretty simple definition for a complicated but essential learning and behavior process.

Here’s the thing to remember: Life isn’t going to get less busy because you’re embarking on a Savvy Book Marketing campaign. In all likelihood, it’s going to get busier. But if you understand that at the outset, you’ll be better able to manage all the other things that will pull at you when you’re setting your marketing schedule and goals.

Remember, you’ve already given yourself permission to sell your book. Now it’s time to make whatever time commitment it takes. If you don’t make your book your priority, no one else is going to do it for you.

See you Monday!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

We’d love it if you’d take a few minutes to give us some feedback via SurveyMonkey about an upcoming Author Sales Training Webinar series we’ve got in the works. Anyone who completes the survey and provides a viable e-mail address will be eligible to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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

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

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Monday, June 27 Start with ONE book marketing strategy, and BE DILIGENT about it!

Thursday, June 23 – INTERESTED or COMMITTED – What’s the difference when it comes to book marketing?

Monday, June 20 – Take a page from the Boy Scouts: Always be PREPARED!


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Start with ONE book marketing strategy, and BE DILIGENT about it!

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

In our last post, we reenforced the understanding that becoming an SBM* is neither terribly complicated nor difficult. What it requires is creativity, strategy, and a significant commitment of time and energy. Book marketing strategies are probably as plentiful as the authors who employ them. Your goal should be to determine ONE strategy to begin with email, social media, postcards, newsletter, phone calls, networking and be faithful and diligent about it.

First, choose the strategy that makes the most sense to you. If you already have a sizable mailing list, an e-mail drip campaign might make sense. If you’ve got a good-sized social network, you may want to begin there. If you are building your platform from the ground up, a blog may be the best place to start.

Next, create a schedule and stick to it. Blog three days a week. Create a weekly e-mail drip campaign. Join two networking groups and attend every meeting faithfully and then follow up religiously. Begin with ONE strategy, and master it. Then explore which strategy will best compliment your current effort and add another one, and do that regularly. And so on…  But start with one – the key word there being START!

See you Thursday!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

We’d love it if you’d take a few minutes to give us some feedback via SurveyMonkey about an upcoming Author Sales Training Webinar series we’ve got in the works. Anyone who completes the survey and provides a viable e-mail address will be eligible to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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

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

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, June 23 – INTERESTED or COMMITTED – What’s the difference when it comes to book marketing?

Monday, June 20 – Take a page from the Boy Scouts: Always be PREPARED!

Thursday, June 16 Are you using the 80/20 RULE when it comes to marketing your books?

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