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Posts Tagged ‘Savvy Book Marketer’

You’ll Sell More Books if You Don’t Sleep on the Plane

Zach Hall is just a guy – a guy who one day decided NOT to sleep on the plane and, zach hallinstead, talk to the person next to him. From that one instance, he made a shift and began talking to people on every flight. Some wanted to engage – others were, well, sleeping. But the thing is, this process of endeavoring to engage changed his mindset, and it led to a book called … drumroll, please … Don’t Sleep on Planes.

This is his Twitter picture, so you get the feeling he’s a bit of an extrovert, anyway, right? But there’s still a lesson in his method for all of us. One piece of advice I give to every author I meet is to know who their ideal reader is – because it’s really challenging to market anything when you don’t know who the audience is.

But right behind that is a complimentary suggestion: be fearless in talking with everyone you meet about your book. That doesn’t mean clubbing them over the head with it – or walking up to a stranger and saying, “Hi, I’m Laura. Would you like to buy my book?” It means looking for openings – and when people ask you what you do (which the alllllways do), tell them you’ve written (or are writing) a book.

The inevitable next question is, “Oh? What’s it about?” So have a good, engaging answer prepared – but keep it short. If they’re interested, they’ll ask more. If they’re not, don’t chase them down to tell them about what a good book it is, how long you worked on it, how it’s suitable for all ages, and how they really, really need to buy it.

don't sleep on planesNow besides being an extrovert, Zach has another seeming advantage: he works in the marketing department for the Arizona Diamondbacks, an MLB team that made the playoffs this season for the first time since 2011. One thing that changed once Zach wrote his book was that he stopped talking about the Diamondbacks when he was out on his own time. He made business cards to promote his book and a baseball cap that says “Don’t Sleep on Planes,” and when people ask him what he does, his first answer is no longer that he’s in marketing for a baseball team.

Has Zach has leveraged his position with the Diamondbacks to his personal advantage? Of course. But before you start whining that you “don’t have a job like that,” think about the opportunities the work you do outside of writing does offer you. What kinds of people do you meet? How willing are you to talk with them on a one-on-one basis about anything other than work? How willing are you to advocate for or support the things they’re doing in their lives – be it their fitness efforts, their kids’ cookie/giftwrapping/calendar sales, or the fundraiser for their spouse’s pet charity?

An important rule of success is showing up – but it’s not just THAT you show up, it’s HOW you show up. Do you want to be left alone to sleep on the plane, or take a chance and talk to the guy in the seat next to you who happens to own a multi-million dollar business, invites you to speak at a training seminar for his staff, and buys 100 copies of your book? It’s totally up to you.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Lead Magnet - dog

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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Looking Backward Won’t Take You Forward

Leave the past

Yes – there’s a spelling error. I’m letting perfectionism go and leaving it as it is!

I was looking in the mirror this morning, and I found myself wondering how long it was going to take me to get back to how I looked in my last head shot. This should not have been a lightbulb moment, but the awareness that I’m never going to “get back” to where I was a few years ago was rather like an ice-water shower.

Over the last 16 months, I’ve been working out pretty diligently – both with my trainer and on my own – and in that time I’ve managed to lose about 30 pounds. Not a huge shift, but significant enough to be feeling better and motivated to keep exercising and eating well. That was until I saw a video about this guy who lost 140 pounds in 10 months.

Suddenly my accomplishment didn’t seem quite so accomplished.

Should I have lost more weight in that time? Probably – but that’s a value judgment. Your answer would largely depend on your own lens, perspective, and beliefs. Could I have lost more weight in that time? Now we’re on objective territory, and the answer is, without question, yes.

So what’s my next step? Agonize over the “should-haves” and “could-haves” and dissect the reasons I didn’t? Or is it to stand up tall and then pivot 180 degrees, turning myself to face forward instead of backward? I know that’s what my trainer would recommend.

How often do we get stuck – if not heading in reverse, then staring longingly down that path to yesterday? It’s a mirage, though, that path – because as hard as we might try, we’re never going to find ourselves there again. When it comes to your book marketing, are there things you could have done that would have helped you be further down the road today, a little close to your goal? If you’re like most people, of course there are. Better planning. More consistency. Automation. A stronger follow-up system. Fill in your own blank about what you could have done better.

As we head into Fall and find ourselves just weeks from the holidays (and the end of the year), it’s not too soon to start our planning for the next phase of our book marketing campaigns. But what if, instead of trying to fix everything that went wrong or underperformed or disappointed us this year, we chose to focus on one thing we were going to do well in 2018? What if we learned to embrace that empowering two-letter Get-Out-of-Overwhelm Free word, and started saying NO to anything that took us away from that singular focus? What if we turned off the TV? Got an accountability partner who would ask whether we called that bookstore or emailed that reviewer? What if instead of looking back, we looked forward with anticipation, commitment, and a determination to call perfectionism’s bluff?

You know what you have to do to write more books, sell more books, build your email list. Acknowledge where you are right now – and where you were a year ago. Then make a pledge about where you intend to be a year from now – and start taking the steps that will allow you to accomplish that goal.

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Lead Magnet - dog

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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Making Procrastination Work FOR You

Positive procrastination

Be honest: how often do you find yourself with too much to-do list at the end of your day? I think this happens to a lot of us. And, according to Jon Acuff, author of Finish, it’s one of the things that keeps us stuck, prevents us from finishing the important things – large and small – in life. We started, but we didn’t get it done – on time, perfectly, as well as our sister-in-law would do it – so we quit entirely. Throw in the towel. Well, I’ve failed again. Why even keep going?

Just in case you’re wondering – this is a bald-faced lie your ego tells you to keep you safely inside your comfort zone. Because guess what – growing is uncomfortable. Progress is challenging. Finishing stretches muscles we may not have used in a long time. And our ego is right there to reassure us that giving up this time is OK because we really didn’t want to write that book, get that speaking gig, or plant that garden anyway. We can always get overpriced organic food at the store.

In Finish, Acuff recommends making procrastination our friend. If your goal is to finish your novel by the end of the year, you’re probably going to have to give up – or put off – some stuff that you’ve been doing while you’ve been not writing your novel. They could be smallish things – like turning the TV off – or they could be bigger things like stepping back from your leadership role – or membership in – a favorite group or club.

This doesn’t mean you’ll never do these things again, just that you’re not doing them – or as much off them – right now.

Acuff’s term is bombing some things to make way for other things. I think of it as leveraging procrastination as a tool for the good! Here’s an example. Our car was a mess. Almost-rainstorms in Phoenix create a muddy muck on the exterior of any car not garaged when the mist that spits from the sky is followed by a fine dusting of desert sand. Bonus design points when your cat walks all over the car leaving a mad paw-print motif.

catprints on car

I asked my husband to take responsibility for getting the car cleaned and replacing the windshield wipers today. He told me last night that that sounded like a reasonable one-day to-do list. Then he woke up this morning not feeling well. So I offered to go get him some grapefruit juice and chicken noodle soup. It just so happens that the auto parts store and the carwash are on the way to the grocery store. So I stopped, thinking, Since John’s not going to get this done today and I’m right here, I may as well just do it myself. Mind you, the whole reason I asked him to do these chores was to take some of the load off of my plate so I could get other things done.

This is a scenario where employing procrastination would have really worked in my favor. Could I live one more day with a dirty car? Of course! Did the windshield wipers need to be replaced today? As far as I’m aware, we’re not due a torrential monsoon storm tonight – so, no. The wipers weren’t an emergency. Oh – and while I was at the carwash, I decided to vacuum out the back because I was already at the carwash, right?

I think there’s a fine line between overcoming procrastination of the lazy, “I’ll just do it tomorrow” variety – and knowing when the thing you’re taking time to do today is actually a distraction or hindrance to your progress and process and would better be put off till another day or time.

How can/do you use procrastination as a tool for the good in your life? We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

Laura

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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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MonDAY INSPIRATIONS: I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book

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

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

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

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

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

Read Full Post »

The 5 P’s of Planning a 5K – or Marketing a Book

I just completed my first 5K in more than 15 years. Actually, it was my first organized 5K ever, but once upon a time, I used to run 10 to 15 miles a week. Then life happened, and I stopped running. Or exercising. Or walking much past what the day-to-day effort called for.

In 2011, I got married – and I gained a lot of weight over the last six years. A couple years ago, my husband and I began talking about working out, getting in shape, doing things differently. And we made some minor changes that didn’t really produce much of a result.

Then, last May, I met a trainer in my marketing mastermind group. La-di-da. I’d met lots of trainers. Even had a trainer back when I was doing all that running. But something about this guy spoke to me. He seemed to know what he was doing – and I was truly ready for a real change. So we hired Miles Beccia, of Mind Muscle Memory, and it was the smartest decision we ever made. Besides being good at the physiology and psychology of training, Miles is great at meeting us right where we are. Whatever we want to achieve – or have going on in our lives – he knows just the proper exercises to get us there.

My husband wanted to get fit enough to hike again – so that became a large part of our early training focus. Now John hikes four or five times a week. I do a lot of festivals and events with authors that require lifting and hefting and standing. Never came out of one of those events without feeling major stress to my lower back and needing to take a handful of ibuprofen. Until Miles helped me train to lift and heft and stand. The last event I did (in  December 2016) was the first one where I wasn’t sore after.

So a few weeks ago, my husband signed us up to take part in this 5K race. He’s been pushing the training pretty hard and got to where he could run part of it. I’m still just six weeks clear of a very severe bout of pneumonia. So although I’m just about back to full lung capacity, I didn’t want to push as hard as I might down the road, and I walked the 5K. But we both did it and we both completed it in what, for us, were record times, particularly given that even participating would have been a pipe dream just a year ago.

So what goes into planning a 5K?
Turns out, it’s the same things that go into marketing a book.

PEOPLE. If you want to hold a 5K, you’ve got to figure out who the players are. Who’s the team that will help you organize the race? Where do you find the people who will take part in the race? Same with marketing a book. You can try to do it all on your own, but you won’t have nearly the success that you could if you were to get some others involved to help you (e.g., web designer, book launch expert, ad words expert, etc.). By the way – I posted that picture of John and me on my FB page after the race, and so far, more than 80 people have liked and/or commented on it. Those are my people. Who are yours?

PRODUCT. When it comes to the 5K, your product is the race itself. That’s what you’re selling – to the sponsoring organization, to the community, to the participants. When it comes to publishing, your book is the product. So you want to make the best book you can. The best way to do that is to budget for a professional cover/interior designer, a professional editor, and pros to do the typesetting and proofreading.

PLACE. The place for the race is where you will hold it. A community college track? A path through your city or town? What kinds of permits and fees will be involved? The place, in terms of your book, is where you will find your readers. You can’t know this unless and until you know who your readers are. That’s the crux of book marketing – identifying your ideal reader and then reaching them with information about your really amazing book.

PRICE. Maybe you didn’t know this, but the participants pay to run (or walk) in a 5K, 10K, or marathon. How much? Depends on the race. If it’s a new event, hosted by an unknown sponsor that is using the race to create awareness in the community, it will cost a lot less to participate than, say, it would to run in the Boston or NYC marathons. Pricing for your book should work similarly. If you’re a brand new author with no track record to speak of, readers are understandably going to be hesitant to pay a premium for your book – particularly fiction – if there are other similar books available in your genre. Price your book realistically. Pricing it lower may sound counterintuitive – you want to get compensated for all your hard work! But studies are showing that lower pricing amounts to notably increased sales and, as a result, more income for the author.

PROMOTION. Whether it’s a race or a book – no one will buy in if they don’t know about it. So you’ve got to have a marketing and promotion plan. Winging your marketing might help you sign up a few runners – or make a handful of book sales. But if you really want to go places, you’ve got to be strategic. What kind of resources do you have, in terms of your email list, your social media contacts, and the influencers in your inner circle? How much money can you afford to put into your launch? How informed are you about online ads and paid promotions? How big is your blog following? How good are you at writing copy? These are just a few of the things to consider when planning a promotion for a new book.

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines for a while now – whether in terms of writing/finishing your book or ramping up your book marketing efforts – the good news is that it’s never too late to get started. Put your Savvy Book Marketer hat on, and start thinking about YOUR 5P’s: People, Product, Place, Price, Promotion.

People are waiting for your book. What are YOU waiting for?

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

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

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

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

__________________

Read Full Post »

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Ideas aren’t magical…

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

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Ideas aren’t magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down.”

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

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

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

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

 

Read Full Post »

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Better to write for yourself…

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

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Want to experience the West Coast, sell & sign books, and make some great new friendships? Join us for Great 2017 West Coast Book Tour – July 22-August 12. We’ll visit San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Space is limited to 6 authors. Reserve your spot today! Details here.

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Scott Adams exemplifies WYTAYBA: What You Think About Your Bring About

I once heard a story about Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip. First published in dilbert131989, the comic strip gained a quick following. But Adams wanted more. He wanted to be THE most famous cartoonist in the world. According to the story I heard (mind you, now, I’ve never done the research to back this up), he saw as his nemeses three cartoonists of immense fame and wide regard: Berke Breathed, who drew Bloom County; Gary Larson, of Far Side fame; and Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes. Adams felt that if he was ever going to make it to THE top, each of these three comic-drawing gods was going to have to put the cap on his pen and call it quits.

In the meantime, Adams was leaving nothing to chance. He started writing affirmations and repeating mantras to himself. He cut up strips of paper on which was written “I am the most famous cartoonist in the world,” and pasted them everywhere: bathroom mirror, refrigerator, computer, phone, car sun visor. Anywhere he looked, this affirmation was there to inspire him.

And then, unbelievably, one by one Breathed, Larson, and Watterson decided to end their strips, leaving the road clear for Adams to ascend to greatness.

I’m not sure he was ever the most popular cartoonist in the world – or even in the United States – but no one can argue with his success. The Dilbert comic strip was the progenitor of several movies, an animated TV series, a video game, and hundreds of pieces of merchandise. Adams received the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award and the Newspaper Comic Strip Award in 1997. And his lovable misfit and entourage appear in 2,000 newspapers around the world across 65 countries, translated into 25 languages.

A post by Brendon Callagher on Complex.com titled “The 25 Best Sunday Comic Strips of All Time” placed Dilbert at #13. And my Google search for “most popular comic strip” shows Adams in the fourth position.

dilbert

What does this all have to do with you and marketing your book? Everything. First of all, have you ever answered the question: What is your #1 goal? Is it:

  • To publish your book?
  • To sell 10,000 copies of your book?
  • To make The New York Times bestseller list?
  • To go on a world tour with your book?
  • To have your book made into a movie?

Before you can achieve it, you have to know WHAT your goal is. And regardless of how distant and unachievable they might seem, none of these is out of the realm of possibility for any author. When it comes to achieving your goal, however, the deeper questions are: How much do you want it? And what are you willing to do to get it?

Adams probably did a lot more than just write, post, and say affirmations all day. But he was certain he had to embrace the success mindset he wanted to achieve. This is an essential part of the Law of Attraction. There’s a made-up word, wytayba, pronounced WHY-TAY-BA, (an acronym,  actually, that stands for “what you think about, you bring about”), that most Law of Attraction practitioners focus on daily. Where are your thoughts? What is your focus? What do you spend the most time concentrating on? If it’s not your number stan-wytabaone goal, you either need to change your goal or learn to refocus your thoughts.

I was recently gifted with an idea from the Arizona Marketing Association – a group of like-minded entrepreneurs and businesspeople who gather monthly to discuss marketing ideas, tips, and tools.

Think about a simple device you probably have in your hands for hours at a time daily – your smart phone. Would you believe that the average person checks their device – that means looks at and/or unlocks their home screen – between 85 and 110 times a day?

What if you were to leverage that seemingly innocuous task to your benefit by having it help you focus on your goal? It’s easy enough to do. Write your goal on a piece of paper – clearly so you can read it. Then take a picture of that goal and make that image the lock screen for your phone. (If you don’t know how to do this, find the closest sixth-grader and ask them.) Going forward, every time you go to unlock your phone, you have an added imprint of your goal – a reminder of what you intend to accomplish next in life. (This image is my new lock screen.)

I’ll tell you, I’m sure a lot more focused on publishing my novel by April 22nd (the day before the L.A. Times Festival of Books begins) than I was before I added this simple, elegant reminder to my phone.

Here’s to accomplishing your goal and living WYTAYBA!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Want to experience the West Coast, sell & sign books, and make some great new friendships? Join us for Great 2017 West Coast Book Tour – July 22-August 12. We’ll visit San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Space is limited to 6 authors. Reserve your spot today! Details here.

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: … my initial concern is to get a hearing

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

Here’s today’s inspiration: When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, “I amgoing to produce a work of art.” I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.

george-orwell

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Want to experience the West Coast, sell & sign books, and make some great new friendships? Join us for Great 2017 West Coast Book Tour – July 22-August 12. We’ll visit San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Space is limited to 6 authors. Reserve your spot today! Details here.

Read Full Post »

Setback: A Reason to Quit or a Time for Reevaluation?

Setbacks happen. To all of us. Sometimes when we least expect them. I recently had a big one. On January 2nd, I came down with a cough that eventually worsened and evolved into pneumonia – which sidelined me, well, pretty much until this weekend. A whole month – lost.

january-calendar

Or was it?

Productivity wise, yeah, it was a lost month. I had to tell my clients, “I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” Most were very understanding, offering to pray for my quick recovery. I didn’t work on my novel. I had to cancel the first Meetup of the year for Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion. My husband and I had to cancel a getaway to Flagstaff. I was down.

Benefits to Being Sidelined

But the sidelining forced me to do some things I, apparently, haven’t been very good at.setback One – resting. A lot. Like all day long for two straight weeks. Two – pacing myself. Once I regained a little strength, I had to figure out where and how to use it, because it was so limited. Three – listening to my body. Besides the obvious breathing issues, the illness also affected my digestion, sleeping, skin, and cognitive function. Who knew that thinking used up so much more energy than exercise? Four – drinking water. I’ve heard for years that we’re supposed to drink ½ our body weight in ounces per day – and I’ve never come close to that. Being sick, though, made me desperate for water. And I learned that I very much prefer ice water. So now that I’m in the water-drinking habit, it’s probably something that will stay with me.

It also gave me time to dedicate to something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – express myself more, in terms of social commentary. When Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. died 10 years ago, one of the terms that was used to describe him was social commentator. I loved that – and wondered what I needed to do to become a social commentator. I added it to my personal description on my website, but I never pursued it much. I guess I do a little of that with this blog, but I really work on staying focused on book marketing, so the opportunity for broader expression is limited, by design. I could start another blog – but those of you who’ve been following me for a while know I can be pretty hit-or-miss with this one, so another blog seems a silly endeavor unless/until I get much more disciplined. Maybe someday…

In the interim, I had my trusty phone with me whether I was in bed or watching another stand-up comedian’s Netflix special, so I delved into Facebook in a way I never have. I’m honestly not advocating for Facebook – it’s just the platform that was accessible to me at the time. (I’m also exploring a new one called Minds.com that looks to be a very promising challenger to THE social network.) And I started paying attention to all of the posts I was seeing – many of them, understandably, political. I don’t know whether it was simply having the time, or whether I was finally deciding to answer that calling to be more visible about my perspectives, but I wrote and posted a lot of stuff, some of it very personal, that I’d never before shared publicly. Things like: my complicated position on abortion; my mom’s lifelong mental health issues that finally turned out to be vascular dementia; my feelings about the “Make Facebook Fun Again” meme; my thoughts on Obama’s legacy; many issues on both sides of the political aisle. I never pay much attention to my friends count, like some do – but as far as I can tell, it didn’t really waiver in the face of all these new revelations. Did I impact anyone? I think so – just based on the comments on some of the posts. Have I been invited to blog anywhere or do a TEDx talk? No – not yet. But it was a good exercise, one I hope to find time to periodically continue as I emerge from my illness and get back to work.

Last May I started working with a personal trainer, Miles Beccia of Mind Muscle Memory. Miles’ training style was foreign to me, at first – very different from the prior experience I’d had working with a trainer. But he’s actually a genius – and his method, reflected in his business name, works. His method is to start slowly, with the goal of training your body and mind to work together to form new patterns that help you eat well and get the most out of your exercise regimen. “Because,” he said, some months ago, “if you ever experience a setback, you want to be able to get back on your program as soon as you can afterward.” (OK – that’s paraphrased.) But it really worked! Not for one moment while I was sidelined due to this illness did I ever consider abandoning my new exercise and healthy eating habits. Yes – I sure had to put them on hold for a while, as consuming multiple boxes of saltines is not really recommended for a healthy person who wants to reach a weight loss goal. But I’ve recently resumed my workouts, though slowly and in a fairly abridged format. More importantly, I am motivated to work my way back to the full strength and stamina I had when I left off at the end of December.

What It All Means to You

So what does any of this have to do with book marketing, anyway? A lot, if you think about it. No matter who you are or where you are in the publishing process, chances are good that you’ve hit a setback or two. This lead or that tool did not pay off the way you thought it would. You were less than successful at three book fairs or festivals in a row, which caused you to think, “I’ll never do this again!” You burned through your annual budget in the first two months of your book marketing campaign. Whatever it is – you’re not where you wanted to be or thought you would/should be by now.

What Are You Going to Do About It?

  • Are you going to become a victim, give up, and go back to whatever you were doing before you decided to write your book?
  • Are you going to take some time to reevaluate your plan – or write out a plan, if you’ve never taken the time to do that before – so you can make any necessary adjustments and give it another shot?
  • Are you going to learn from the experience, and apply what you’ve learned going forward?
  • Are you going to get back on the treadmill – or decide that you never really wanted to lose the weight in the first place?

Setbacks happen. Here’s hoping you make the most of the next one that finds you.

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Want to experience the West Coast, sell & sign books, and make some great new friendships? Join us for Great 2017 West Coast Book Tour – July 22-August 12. We’ll visit San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Space is limited to 6 authors. Reserve your spot today! Details here.

Read Full Post »

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: No real ending…

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

Here’s today’s inspiration: “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

unfinished

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Want to experience the West Coast, sell & sign books, and make some great new friendships? Join us for Great 2017 West Coast Book Tour – July 22-August 12. We’ll visit San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Space is limited to 6 authors. Reserve your spot today! Details here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXAMPLES:
JANUARY IS BOOK BLITZ MONTH.

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

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

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

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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