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january tip of day

January 3 Book Marketing Tips: WRITE things down, and POST your contact info!

OK — these are from the school of “this is so obvious we shouldn’t even have to mention it,” but as I’ve often said before, sometimes the things that seem like they shouldn’t need mentioning are the ones that need the most reminders.

Two incidents occurred yesterday to incite this post:

INCIDENT 1

I was trying to contact a speaker I know to ask if he was available to speak for one of my business groups in February. I’d mislaid his diggingbusiness card, so I thought, Of course his website will have his contact info. Yeah — not so much. Instead of any contact info — even an EMAIL address — his website has one of those contact forms where you type in your question or message and wait for the recipient to get back to you. Sometimes you wait … and wait … and wait.

I understand trying to prevent spam and unsolicited phone calls, but sometimes you need to consider the cost of doing business. Now, this is just my opinion, but I don’t use a spam filter because I don’t want to give anyone a reason to hire the next self-publishing consultant — and that includes making them jump through hoops to email me. I know this happens because I’ve done it, more than once. If you’re going to make me prove myself before I can communicate with you via email, you’d better be worth the trouble. But how can I know that if this is my first contact with you? Same goes for making it difficult to reach you by phone. More than likely, I’m onto the next speaker, plumber, chiropractor, etc. — and so are the people who are trying to reach you.

In this particular incident, I dug through one more bag and found this speaker’s business card, which does contain his contact info. But he’s lucky I had met him in person. What if I’d come across his website and wanted to call him in that moment? No-siree-Bob! I can’t help but wonder how many opportunities this guy misses out on because he’s so difficult to contact.

INCIDENT 2

Last night, the above-mentioned business group held a beer-tasting fundraiser which I helped organize. It was wildly successful, in that we met our $$ goals and everyone who attended had a great time. One thing I know about myself is that writing lists, while almost always beneficial, is not always my strongest suit. Thank goodness my co-organizer for the event is a bit more left-brained than I. She sent me a list of things that still needed to be done the day before the event, prompting me to make my own list. Yesterday, as I was consulting said list, I was sooooooo glad I’d made it. Sure enough, had I not consulted the list, I’d have left for the event without two crucial items that I was absolutely certain I’d remember.

Beer tasting

Lesson to you, my Savvy Book Marketer friends: WRITE IT DOWN. No matter what it is, chances are you’re too busy for one teeny, tiny detail to stick, even if you’re certain it will.

In another incident, my niece recently returned from traveling abroad. My forthcoming novel is about a man who travels around the world, so whenever anyone I know tells me travel stories, my ears perk up. In this case, my niece had been to Egypt and told the family a story that was utterly fascinating. I was so fascinated, in fact, that instead of listening intently and allowing the details to implant on the easy-to-access part of my memory, I was busy thinking, That would be a great detail for my novel. I should write it down. Nah — it’s so perfect, of course I’ll remember it. Ask me now what the detail was. Go ahead, ask me. I have absolutely no idea. And neither does Samantha, because the single detail I found most fascinating was just one moment in her months-long journey. Seriously — WRITE IT DOWN!

Write-it-Down

Here’s to making things easier on yourself!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Blogging mishap: The content is overpowered by the background image

If you’ve been following Marcie and me for a while, you may agree that we have a generally positive, upbeat attitude and outlook on life and writing and book marketing. I feel the need to make that caveat, as I’m about to post the second of two cautionary (i.e., “DON’T do this!”) posts in less than a week.

And like my last admittedly opinionated commentary (about reposting someone else’s content not being blogging), I also came across this one through Google Alerts for “book marketing.”

It is a post titled How To Create A Successful Book Marketing Campaign, written by Bob T. Taylor for Vu Books.

Please understand that in this instance, I am NOT critiquing content. In fact, I reserve comment on the content, entirely. My point here is that the appearance is problematic. In attempt to create an interesting backdrop for this blog, the designer cleverly incorporated an image of some books, photos, and writing implements. The problem is that the image is too dark, so much so that it makes the text of the blog  the entire point of the page, as you are no doubt aware  very difficult to read. As I said, this is a clever concept, but if it is to work, the background image must be MUCH  lighter, creating significant contrast with the text.

Compare for yourself…

This is an actual screen shot from the Vu Books blog.

This is a mockup of the same screen shot I created using a comparable background image. The primary difference is that I made the background image about 70 percent lighter than in the original version. In my version, the text of the books is not competing with the text of the blog post to create illegible chaos.

This lesson applies equally to blog sites and traditional websites. A background image can go a long way to build interest, brand your site, and make for a generally more favorable experience, provided that it doesn’t overpower the text you actually want your visitors to read! In this case, I  might also consider increasing the font size and putting some space between the lines. However, depending on your blogging platform, choices like that may or may not be available.

The main point is to ALWAYS keep your reader in mind. Make it easy for them to enjoy visiting your blog/website and give them a reason to want to come back. If they can’t read the text  especially of a blog post  they will most likely click “NEXT!”

To appropriate background imagery!

Laura

P.S. If you’re not using Google Alerts, you should be. You can ask Google to email you whenever your selected keywords are mentioned in new online content. It’s simple to sign up and helps you stay up-to-date on your topic, industry, trends, or even your own name.

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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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