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Posts Tagged ‘Connie Kadansky’

Maintaining your cool under holiday pressure

In preparation for the upcoming Holiday Author Event, I recently hosted a training, Book Signing Success Secrets. There were 4 parts to the training:calm under pressure

  1. Before the Event
  2. At the Event
  3. The Display
  4. After the Event

I was fortunate to be able to bring in two experts to offer invaluable input into the success metric:

Connie Kadansky is an international sales coach and trainer whose underlying message comes back to one thing: the importance of having a success mindset.

Barbara Chatzkel, the Body Language Pro, shared information about the kind of body language authors want to exhibit in a book-signing scenario to indicate interest and attract people to them, as opposed to inadvertently pushing them away.

Connie often writes and speaks on the power of optimism as a sales tool: optimistic people meet more people, make more sales, and generally have more success in all areas of their lives. And optimism is a mindset.

I recently came across a LinkedIn article by Dr. Travis Bradberry titled, “How Successful People Stay Calm,” and found that it coincides precisely with Connie’s thinking and teachings on optimism. I encourage you to read the whole article, but here are the 10 behaviors Bradberry notes that successful people use to remain calm under pressure:

  • The appreciate what they have.
  • They avoid asking “What if…?”
  • They stay positive.
  • They disconnect.
  • They limit their caffeine intake.
  • They sleep.
  • They squash negative self-talk.
  • They reframe their perspectives.
  • They breathe.
  • They have and rely on support systems.

I had an opportunity to practice some of these the other day. For last weekend’s training session, I set up a display table with all of my books, products, and accoutrements. Knowing I’d be attending another event where I would be using the same materials this weekend, I left the multitude of boxes in the trunk, figuring I’d just make it easier on myself. Then, the car I was driving went into the shop on Tuesday. Was certainly supposed to be fixed by Thursday, Friday at the latest. Of course, it hit me at 6 p.m. Friday night that since we clearly weren’t going to get the car back that day, I’d need to stop by the garage on the way to my event and gather my things out of the trunk. Perfect plan, until my husband texted: “Sorry. The garage is closed on the weekend.”

Crap, crap, crap!

I was pretty aggravated for a couple of minutes, until I realized that there wasn’t much I could doplan b about the situation, and staying frustrated would get me nowhere. I needed a Plan B. What’s quite humorous about this whole situation is that my Plan B involved the saddest, most pathetic looking little portion of a display table (I didn’t have materials enough to warrant even half a table) at this weekend’s conference. One person grabbed a business card, but that was pretty much the extent of the activity my display generated.

Of course, then, there’s serendipity – as my sad little pathetic display table happened to be immediately adjacent to the lavish display of one Maxwell Alexander Drake. If you’re a fantasy/sci-fi fan, you may have heard of him. If you’ve ever attended Comic-Con, Gen-Con, Origins, Xanadu, Combat-Con, the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, the San Diego Book Festival, or the Tucson Festival of Books, you may have seen him, heard him present, or had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the man. He has a pretty impressive résumé. And since I now had no reason to babysit my table, I was able to attend one of Drake’s lectures, as well as lunch with him and discuss many writing-related topics (which I’ll touch on in more detail in an upcoming post). Had I been busy with my typical table display, I might very likely have missed out on these intriguing conversations.

I’m not saying I’ve got stress management all figured out. But for as long as I can remember, optimism has been my default, and I tend to stay fairly positive – and calm – even in stressful situations.

Between the book signings and professional events that may be coming up in the next few weeks, and all the chaos of the holidays, it may do us all well to remember Bradberry’s list of behaviors and model them to the best of our ability.

Here’s to calm seas ahead!

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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Considering a VIRTUAL LAUNCH? Join us Friday to see how it’s done!

Although it’s always fun to throw a big party to celebrate your book’s release, sometimes this isn’t the most practical thing to do. Maybe your budget doesn’t accommodate a grand shindig. Perhaps you simply don’t have time to plan a big party. It could  be that the bulk of your readers are not in your back yard, but on the other side of the world.

As book tours have moved online, it’s also becoming more common for authors to hold virtual book launches.

Such is the case with my client, Maxine Attong, who is launching her second book, Lead Your Team to Win: Achieve Optimal Performance by Providing a Safe Space for Employees, this coming Friday, October 3 at 9 a.m. PDT. Maxine lives and works in Trinidad but has clients in the eastern U.S. and throughout the UK. For her, a virtual launch makes perfect sense.

What’s Involved

Step 1: Choose a date.

Step 2: Decide the format. We decided to do it as a panel discussion, with Maxine interviewing several other leadership experts who have read and are able to comment intelligently about her book.

Step 3: Invite the panelists.

Step 4: Find a charismatic host. Connie Kadansky is an international sales trainer and a webinar pro, so she’s the perfect person to act as host for this event.

Step 5: Secure a webinar platform and create an account.

Step 6: Schedule the webinar.

Step 7: Start sending out the link to the webinar.

Step 8: Write some turnkey promotions for the webinar that your panelists, raving fans, and inner circle can send out to their own lists to invite more people.

Step 9: Create an agenda for the webinar and send it to the host and panelists.

Step 10: Schedule practice sessions for the panelists.

Step 11: Hold the webinar!

People Involved

  1. Author
  2. Host
  3. Panelists
  4. Webmaster (for adding info about webinar)
  5. Supporters who are willing to share the link
  6. Project manager/consultant, especially helpful if this is all new to you

Turnkey Marketing

Here are a few samples of the turnkey marketing pieces we wrote to make it easy for Maxine’s supporters to help her promote the webinar:

FOR FACEBOOK/LINKEDIN

“A Safe Space is the office version of Las Vegas: what happens in the room stays in the room. This is the place to be weak, Vegasvulnerable, indolent, petulant and indulgent, knowing that whatever is said and done happens in a faraway place that has no bearing on your office/career reality. You always leave with your dignity intact.” (Excerpt from “Lead Your Team to Win,” the excellent new book from @AttongMaxine.) Does your team have what it takes to employ a ‪#‎SafeSpace‬?

Mark your calendar for 9 a.m. PDT this Friday, October 3, and join this fantastic webinar to find out. Click the link to register: www.maxineattong.com/upcoming-events/the-webinar

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“The Safe Space is for dreaming. Members dream of the way that they want the organization to look and feel and then plot l-Dream-bigprojects to make it happen. It is the space for the impossible to be converted to possible. It is the team’s think tank. The space is for risk-taking. The leader prompts the team to be ridiculous in its thoughts and go for the big ideas. People come in thinking that failure is an option and leave with the confidence to try and permission to fail.” (Excerpt from “Lead Your Team to Win,” the excellent new book from @AttongMaxine.)

Is dreaming big an option in your office – specifically, within your team? Is it encouraged or discouraged? What might happen if ridiculous ideas were given room to germinate, without being shut down as impractical, impossible, or pipe dreams? In a Safe Space, big dreams are not only possible – they are encouraged. Does your team have what it takes to employ a ‪#‎SafeSpace‬?

Mark your calendar for 9 a.m. PDT this Friday, October 3, and join this fantastic webinar to find out. Click the link to register: www.maxineattong.com/upcoming-events/the-webinar

FOR TWITTER

A #SafeSpace is critical to a well-functioning team: it allows every team member to take risks, learn, grow, and perform at optimal levels.
Is your team working at its full potential? Join this 10/3 webinar to find out:
What is a #SafeSpace? The chance to be yourself, get support & enhance your work life. Join this webinar to learn how! .
Is your team healthy? Would a #SafeSpace improve relationships and morale? Join this 10/3 webinar to learn more:
What questions do you have about creating a #SafeSpace at work? Join this 10/3 webinar to get answers!
My friend @maxineattong has written a powerful book about creating a #SafeSpace at work. Learn more at this webinar:

Tweet: Join us for a great webinar on Friday at 9 a.m. PDT and learn more about the #SafeSpace concept. http://ctt.ec/Zp1Ev+

The SAFE SPACE concept teaches all members of a team the power of respect and allows every team member to take risks, learn, grow, and ultimately perform at optimal levels. I believe Maxine’s book truly has the power to make a difference in many people’s lives because the SAFE SPACE is a place specifically designed for dreaming on the job. Team members dream of the way they want their organization to look and feel, and then plot projects to make it so (kudos to Captain Picard). In the SAFE SPACE, the impossible is converted to the possible. The SAFE SPACE is the team’s think tank, a place for risk-taking. The leader prompts the team to be ridiculous in its thoughts and go for the big ideas. People come in thinking failure is an option, and leave with the confidence to try.

As a leader in the self-publishing arena, I believe in Maxine’s concept. Whether you have an interest in the #SafeSpace or just want to sit in on a virtual launch webinar, I encourage you to register for Maxine’s virtual launch, where she and several special guests will be discussing her book and answering any questions you may have.

In addition to Maxine’s fantastic book, when you purchase on the day of the launch, Friday, October 3rd, you will also receive free gifts from several other leadership trainers and experts, including an eBook copy of my own book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. Additionally, if you are unable to attend this event as it happens, a recording will be made available for anyone who registers.

We look forward to “seeing” you on Friday!

Laura

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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 lovers’ Logo w backgroundevent. 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, or spend just $35 for the opportunity to receive an autographed book and dine with several of the authors!

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you great success in mastering your sales mindset!

Laura

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

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

 

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Targeted email marketing works better than generic blasts

Saw the infographic below on Pinterest the other day about the difference between generic email marketing and email marketing designed to generate leads.

Lead_Nurturing_vs_Email_Marketing

Then I had the perfect opportunity to put this concept into practice. A couple years ago, I had a gal approach me about helping to market her book of lessons about love, leadership, and legacy based on the teachings of Harriet Tubman. She didn’t elect to work with me at the time, but we agreed to stay in touch. Well guess what I saw on Facebook yesterday? This post about the anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s passing. So I dropped Karol a little note with a screen shot from my Facebook page:

HT birthday

All the note said was, “Thinking of you today.”

Now, I can see how authors might think this couldn’t possibly apply to them. You’re trying to sell books to a wide audience, right? How’s a one-on-one message going to work for you? I’m here to challenge that thinking a little bit.

First of all, who are some of the individuals it might benefit you to get in front of?

  • Managers of potential book signing venues (coffeehouses, hospitals, care homes, indie book shops, etc.)
  • Your local librarians
  • Folks who run civic, business, and nonprofit organizations in your community
  • Meetup organizers
  • Event planners

And if you were approaching any of these people, which do you think they’d prefer to receive:

(a) a generic email pitching your book/services/speaking to any and all who happen to be on your list

(b) a personalized email, tailored to the individual about a specific aspect of your book, way you can meet one of their stated needs, or simply an introduction

I’m no wizard with a crystal ball, but my strong guess is that Option B would have much greater resonance and impact on  your prospect. And that’s what these folks are: prospects. My friend Connie Kadansky, a fantastic sales coach and trainer, recently reminded my women’s networking group about something very important:

You are not just an author; you are a lead-generation specialist who happens to have written a book about ___.

When you learn to think beyond individual book sales, your influence and success will grow exponentially. This is true even for fiction authors. So how will you apply a tailored marketing approach to your book marketing plan?

Here’s to a your great marketing success!

Laura

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PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 30+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book lovers’ event. Several Summer Author Eventfirst-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 100 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at SummerAuthorEvent.com.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

 

 

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january tip of day

January 27 Book Marketing Tip: Get your “ask” in gear!

My friend Connie Kadansky is an international coach and sales trainer – and this is her tagline: “Get your ask in gear!” Connie specializes in helping salespeople overcome their fear of prospecting and self-promotion. Mostly, that means getting out of your own way and recognizing your value and the value of what you’re selling. In the case of most of this blog’s readers, that would mean your book!

Well, this weekend I heard a story that perfectly bears out the rewards of honoring and living by Connie’s tagline.

My husband’s grandmother, Mary, is 90 years old, but she’s still vibrant and spry. Every Christmas, John gets her tickets to a concert beachor show. Engelbert Humperdinck is her absolute favorite (they’ve seen him together 5 times!), but tickets to his show weren’t on sale yet at the holidays, so instead John got her tickets to see Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix. This is a quartet comprised of Van Dyke and three youngish guys.

As John retold the story, one of the guys – Mike – saw Van Dyke at a Starbucks in Malibu. Rather than being starstruck, he approached the talented veteran and complimented his lengthy and esteemed career. The two got to talking and it turned out that Mike was also a vocalist. One thing led to another, and the group now performs at benefits and children’s events, and has just released a children’s album.

This never would have happened if (a) Mike had not had the nerve to ask the obvious question, “Hey, you’re Dick Van Dyke, aren’t you?” and (b) Van Dyke had not been receptive to the conversation.

It would be folly to suggest that everyone you ask will say yes – or be receptive to your advance or suggestion. But can you tell from looking at someone whether they’ll say yes or no? Of course not! That’s why you have to ask. And ask. And ask.

Ask people to write blurbs for your books.

Ask venues to host your book signings.

Ask people to help with your Kickstarter campaign.

Ask for speaking engagements.

Ask and ask and ask.

Here’s to getting YOUR ask in gear!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Want a professional book cover that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg? Visit our website to Template 5peruse our selection of 25 book cover templates, and download our complimentary special report, “Book Elements:

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Why should a salesperson think about publishing an eBook?

Yesterday, I had the privilege of being a guest on the BlogTalk Radio show of my friend, the elite sales coach and trainer, Connie Kadansky. Connie specializes in teaching sales people to “get their ask in gear” and helping them overcome Sales Call Reluctance®. It’s something almost all of us who are in sales (yes you, my dear SBMs*, are in sales!) face at one time or another: the fear of prospecting and/or self-promoting.

Connie interview

The topic of our conversation yesterday was “Build Your Credibility with Prospects by Publishing an eBook!” As many good talk show hosts do, Connie offered me the list of questions she would ask in advance so that I had time to prep my responses. Her questions and my prepared answers are below. However, you should still listen to the interview: (a) to see how closely we stuck to (or varied from) the script, and (b) because she threw in a couple of great examples that were unplanned.

I think that’s the key to a great talk show – preparation that allows for flexibility and impromptu questions and responses. It’s also why when you’re preparing to do live radio or TV, you’ve got to be ready to answer any questions the interviewer might throw your way. I had a client one time who wanted to know how to be “absolutely sure” she would know in advance all of the questions the interview would ask. She was extremely worried that she might receive a question to which she did not have a prepared answer, and she was quite unhappy when I told her there would never be such a guarantee. You always have to be prepared for anything because a cagey interviewer may hit you with something utterly unexpected. (I understand Phoenix’s own Pat McMahon has a reputation for this type of surprise questioning.) Generally, though, the interviewer wants the show to go well, which is much more likely if the interviewee has an idea of what’s coming.

Here are Connie’s pre-planned questions and my planned responses:

1. Laura, the first thing that comes to mind when salespeople think about writing anything is anxiety around not being a good enough writer.  How can you ease the anxiety so people will open up to the opportunity to write an eBook that could put them on the “map” so to speak?

Writing is the technical skill of putting words together so that they make sense and properly convey our ideas. But we do that – put words together and convey ideas – every day when we talk to people. So if you can talk, you can probably put a book together fairly easily. It’s just a matter of getting someone to help you organize the words once they’re on paper. I think that putting the book together is the easy part. I – and lots of others out there – can help you with that. But what I cannot do is give you a meaningful message if you don’t already have one.

2. How important is the “why” behind what they are wanting to accomplish?

Many people will tell you that they’re in business to make money. But money, while important, is ultimately an empty motivator. Being emotionally connected to the “why” gets you energized – you can’t wait to go out and talk to people about what you’re selling, and they will see your genuine enthusiasm and respond. Even if they don’t buy from you, they’re more likely to recommend you to someone else who might need your product or service.

3. You indicate that salespeople must know what their message is. . . how do you help salespeople get clarity on that message?  They just want more customers and to sell more of their product or service.  How do you help them dig deep into understanding what their market wants?

The first thing I do is ask questions. Then I listen to the answers. There are three important ones to focus on first: (1) Who is your audience? (2) What is the ONE thing you want them to know – the thing they’d go home and tell their spouse about, or post on social media? (3) Why are YOU the person to share this message?

4. You indicate that people need to know who their audience is – audience meaning who is going to read their material – what are the different components on knowing who the audience is?

Most authors’ goals are to sell books – to lots of people. Makes sense, right? But the best way to hone in on your audience is to know the ONE person you’re trying to reach with your message. Studying their demographics and psychographics. Demographics are the measureable things like age, education, and marital/parenting status. Psychographics, on the other hand, are the things that make your reader unique, such as their personality traits, values, and attitudes. I encourage my authors to know that they are writing to Jane Kowalski – a 32-year-old teacher, no kids, master’s degree, who lives in a Chicago suburb, attends church occasionally, works at an animal shelter on the weekends, and aspires to climb Mt. Everest.

5. This eBook can be a PR tool – it connects them with the “outside world” so to speak – a credibility tool. How important is it that they be specific on what they want to accomplish going back to “they just want more customers?”

It’s essential. The thing is, we all want more customers. We wouldn’t be in sales – or in business, for that matter – if we didn’t. But we need to get underneath the thing we’re selling to the reasons we’re selling it. What will it do for the customer? How will their life benefit from it? How will their life change? What will they be able to do after buying your product or service that they couldn’t do before? Your eBook will answer those questions – or it will explain why you are the best person to provide them those answers. Hopefully both.

6. How does someone share value without “giving away the store?”  Recently, I heard a marketing coach telling people to stop blogging, because they are solving all the customers problems and people don’t need to buy from them.  What are you thoughts on this comment?

I hear this all the time and I couldn’t disagree more. This is a perspective that comes from lack. “If I share what I know, you won’t hire me because I just gave it to you for free,” rather than “If I share what I know, it demonstrates my expertise so you will know I’m good enough to hire.” Not to mention that a typical blog post can only scratch the surface. If all you know is what you can put into a 500-word blog post, you’re not very good at what you do, are you? Your eBook should demonstrate the problem and offer the answer in broad strokes. The customer will still need to hire you (or buy your product) for implementation of the solution.

7. If someone were to call you today with a vague idea of an eBook, what process would you put them through and how long would it take?

I would arrange a phone interview with them and begin by asking the 3 questions I mentioned above. I would ask them what, besides “Do Business With Me” would they want their prospect to do after reading their book? What information does their reader need to know? In what format do they already have that information? Is it written down somewhere? Could they dictate it? Put it into bullet points? Write it as one long 6-page paragraph? Would a series of recorded interviews be the best approach to getting it down? What call to action would they want to leave with their readers/prospects? Depending on the author, it can be a few weeks or a year. We’ve turned around eBooks – cover design, content, editing, layout – in 3 weeks for the right clients.

8. Do you have an offering for our listeners so that they can connect with you?

Your listeners should check out http://bit.ly/Anatomy_Launch for access to a free special report I’ve written to guide them through the launch of their book. Don’t do what far too many new authors do and wait till you have your book in your hands to begin marketing it! Read this report so you can learn how to start marketing the second you start writing.

Laura

* Savvy Book Marketer
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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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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

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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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Authors, if you want to sell books, you must embrace your marketer within

Years ago, I met a gal at a networking group I belonged to who, when asked about her BHAG (big, hairy audacious goal), publicly declared that she intended to be the first Mary Kay distributor to build a million-dollar business. Later in the same meeting, she publicly stated that she fast-forwarded through commercials, had signed up for the Do Not Call List, and pretty much eschewed any attempt by anyone to market to her.

I haven’t seen her since then, but I don’t have to guess whether she ever reached her goal.

Interestingly, many people – authors chief among them – are horrifically averse to the moniker “salesperson.” This in spite of the fact that, as marketing master Adam Urbanski says, “All business owners are in two businesses: the business they’re in and selling and marketing the business they’re in.”

My friend Connie is an international sales trainer who specializes in helping clients overcome Sales Call Reluctance®, which is defined as the emotional hesitation to prospect or self-promote. There are 12 identified forms of Call Reluctance, including one called “Role Rejection.” According to Connie’s website, people with this form of Call Reluctance “are secretly ashamed of any kind of selling. They deflect any association with being a salesperson and tend to believe that society dislikes salespeople, and they themselves get irritated and annoyed when salespeople solicit them.”

If you’re an author who hopes to sell books, it might be a worthwhile exercise to take a personal inventory of your attitude toward salespeople. If you deliberately skip commercials, hate telemarketers with a venom, and reject all attempts to sell or market to you, you may be experiencing Role Rejection – and inadvertently jeopardizing your book sales success.

This is not, however, meant to be an indictment – just an opportunity to reframe your thoughts about sales and marketing. I’ll admit that some marketers are devious, and not all salespeople are scrupulous, but no one is suggesting that you ally with those types of folks. I am suggesting that you consider your sales goals for your book and look for ways to see marketing as a positive – perhaps even fun – enterprise. Trust me, if you view it as a chore you hate, you’ll be a lot less successful at it.

One thing I enjoy is watching and critiquing TV commercials. Some of them are absolutely fantastic; in other cases, I wonder whether the creative departments at certain ad agencies even watched their commercials before airing them. In either event, though, I am honing my marketing skills by noticing what works, what attracts me, and what makes me cringe.

You can do this too, whether it’s with TV ads, radio commercials, banner ads on the Web, or calls from telemarketers. One man Connie recently interviewed for the book she’s writing told her, “Those calls certainly don’t irritate me, because, at the end of the day, I’m a conversationalist. … So if someone wants to call me and open the door to a conversation, I’m willing to have that conversation with them.” What a refreshing way to view a phenomenon most of us see as an irritating intrusion.

We spoke a long time ago about learning to think like a marketer. In order to do that, it might just be time to retire your inner Role Rejecter and instead embrace your marketer within.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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

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Cut the catastrophizing … even well-known authors have been rejected

If you’ve never visited UrbanDictionary.com, it’s worth a spin to see the online dictionary of slang words and phrases. It continues to grow daily, with more than 6 million definitions as of October 2011. Look up anything – even your name! I’d better warn you, though – some of the definitions and sample sentences can get pretty vulgar.

Fortunately, our names are more favorably defined than some:

Marcie. One of the coolest ways to spell Marcie. Typically, people who spell it this way are very cool and/or hot. Man, Marcie is so hot!

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Laura. A really, really cool person; guys want her and girls want to be her. Has many friends. Everyone likes her – they don’t only pretend to like her. Guy 1: Why can we never get a Laura? Guy 2: They all already have great boyfriends.

And now to the point of this post, today’s SBM* Urban Dictionary word of the day:

catastrophize (v) to hyper-imagine negative outcomes to a situation that have no basis in reality; to blow setbacks or problems out of proportion such that you spiral into an emotional catastrophe; to imagine that a situation is worse than it actually is.

Sitting stuck in traffic, Joe began to catastrophize missing his opportunity to deliver the perfect sales pitch and losing the commission he planned to spend on a new suit he would wear to the club to meet the perfect girl. He fell into despair as he contemplated how pointless his life would become because of this standstill on the freeway.

I tend not to go over-the-top in my catastrophizing – but I did catch my gremlin running loose again today as I wondered why I haven’t heard back from three prospective clients. “They must not have liked the work sample I sent.” “She must have decided to go with someone else.” “I guess my fees are too high.” Yep – these were the things that flitted through my mind … until I recognized what I was doing and fell back on a reminder from my friend, international sales trainer Connie Kadansky: “Don’t put words or thoughts in people’s mouths or minds.”

Connie specializes in teaching salespeople to overcome a challenge known as Sales Call Reluctance® – which is a fear of prospecting or self-promotion. It’s been a number of years, but I remember the conversation when she made the above comment. We were talking about the fact that salespeople often catastrophize in the same way I was doing, when she asked, “But why do we go there? Why should we ever assume that our prices are too expensive for someone? We have no way of determining their budget or how they prioritize their spending. We need to stop assuming and just get an honest answer.”

It was helpful to realize I just need to follow up – again – with my prospects and wait to hear back from them. And even if I follow up a dozen more times without ever hearing another word from any of them, I can still make the choice not to personalize their lack of response as reflecting on the quality of my work – or, more importantly, my worthiness.

I think this is an important reminder for authors who are shopping their books to agents and/or publishers, or who seem to be stuck with their marketing. Sometimes a bad book is just a bad book. But equally often, the only thing the rejection letter means is that your book is not the right fit for that publishing company (or the agent/reader who happens to be reviewing your submission).

You always have the option to reframe the lack of response any way you like,  but the reality is that you usually know only ONE thing for sure: you haven’t heard back yet. Nothing more. If you still need some cheering, perhaps you will take heart from some of the more famous author rejections:

  • “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language,” said the editor of the San Francisco Examiner to Rudyard Kipling.
  • Dr. Seuss received many rejection letters, including the following: “[This book is t]oo different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”
  • Irving Stone’s Lust for Life was rejected 16 times, once with this helpful synopsis: “A long, dull novel about an artist.” The book went on to sell more than 25 million copies.
  • And The Tale of Peter Rabbit was turned down so many times that Beatrix Potter initially self-published it.

For further author challenges/rejections, please see Susie Smith’s blog and a list by Examiner.com.

Here’s to reframing those challenging thoughts!

Laura

*Savvy Book Marketer

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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

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Take a page from the Boy Scouts: Always be PREPARED!

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

So now that we’re familiar with relationship marketing as it pertains to becoming an SBM* and have made that aspect of selling books part of our daily ritual, practice, and mantra, it’s time to start seizing the opportunities as they present themselves. I recommend taking a page out of the Boy Scouts’ playbook and always BE PREPARED.

Once you train yourself to recognize them, you will begin to notice opportunities everywhere. You will meet people in line at the grocery store or the DMV. Your spouse will come across someone who can help promote your book. You will attend a lecture and make connections who invite you to speak the next time. Whatever shape or form they take, make sure you’re ready to capitalize on these limitless opportunities!

It’s possible that right now you’re thinking, “What are you talking about, Marcie? I’ve NEVER met anyone who could help me market my book on Irish vegan wedding recipes.” Here’s the thing: the opportunities are out there, but you must learn to see them.

I had a mentor who was so good at seeing opportunities, I like to say that he was able to look at a plain white piece of paper and see 27 opportunities on it, while all I saw was a plain white piece of paper. But after spending time with him, I began to do a few things that allowed me to start seeing opportunities the same way he did:

  1. I decided exactly what I wanted.
  2. I figured out the kinds of help I would need to get there.
  3. I learned to be a better listener.
  4. I got over my fear of talking to people about my products and services.

Think about the times people have asked you for help. If the request is reasonable, people are mostly willing to help. Now there’s one big caveat here: you do NOT want to go at people with your hand out the second you meet them. This is not about learning to use or manipulate the people you know. It’s about figuring out how to create mutually beneficial arrangements with them.

Nothing will come of any of the opportunities, though, if you aren’t prepared to leverage them.

  • How are you at public speaking? If it’s less than stellar (or if you’re terrified of public speaking), join a Toastmasters Club today! 
  • Do you have an article ready to go if someone were to ask you to submit one to their publication? How’s the resource box and your call to action?
  • Is your media kit current?
  • Are your bio, resume, and introduction updated?
  • Have you rehearsed your 15-, 30-, and 60-second descriptions of your book so that they roll off your tongue?

As my friend, international sales trainer Connie Kadansky, always says: “Opportunities are never lost. They just go to the person who is ready to take advantage of them!”

See you Thursday!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

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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.

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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.

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PREVIOUS POSTS

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

Monday, June 13 – RELATIONSHIP marketing is the only way to SELL something personal like a book

Thursday, June 9 – Savvy Book Marketing is all about the RELATIONSHIP

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Give yourself PERMISSION to market your books.

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

I know, I know – the title on this post sounds somewhat ridiculous. Why would authors have to give themselves permission to market their own books? The books are THEIR books, aren’t they? Who’s going to stop them from marketing those books? Aha – now we’re getting somewhere. Who IS going to stop you, the author, from marketing your own book? Would you believe me if I told you that YOU are the most likely culprit?

It’s all about a little thing my good friend Therese Skelly likes to call mindset. And if you mean to become an SBM* and get really good at marketing your books, you must first master your mindset. This means embracing the role of marketer and salesperson, confident that you have an excellent product (your book) to sell to your very hungry market (your potential readers).

In all my years participating in the Phoenix networking and business development circle, one thing that still amazes me is how difficult it is for many people to promote themselves and their businesses. They just have a huge hesitation to say, “Here’s what I do, and you should hire/buy from me because I’m pretty good at it.” Unfortunately, many authors struggle from the same challenges.

What’s behind this fear of self-promotion? Lots of things, most likely – but the biggest one appears to be a hugely emotional fear of rejection. “What if they don’t like my book?” Last post, I encouraged you to develop a thick skin. Now I’m STRONGLY encouraging you to give yourself permission to promote your book. Take a page out of Debbie Allen‘s playbook and become a shameless self-promoter.

If it’s a good book that can help people, you owe it to them to let them know about it. If it’s a fictional work that will truly move your readers, don’t you think they want the opportunity to read it? Get over your fear, false humility, or whatever is holding you back and get out there to toot your own horn! Because here’s the deal – it will be difficult to impossible to get anyone else to promote your book for you or with you if you don’t take the lead by passionately promoting it yourself.

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 2 – You’ve got to develop a thick skin if you’re going to get SERIOUS about SELLING your books

Monday, May 30 – If you REALLY want to sell books, you’ve got to learn to start thinking like a marketer

Thursday, May 26 You must know why YOU are writing this book – and be able to talk about it

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