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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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