PUBLICITY, CHARITIES, AND BOOK SALES … OH MY!

Head Spinning, 1There are so many ways to market a book it would make your head spin. The problem is that most authors only know one way, and that involves heavy competition with other authors for the book buyer’s ear and dollar. It doesn’t always feel that way. We authors gather together for support and safety then without realizing it, we all do the same thing. We reach out to book buyers where we think they are and nowhere else. In that process of shouting at book clubs and people we feel fit into the book buyer description, we’re not only making it harder to be heard above the crowd…we’re drastically limiting our book exposure strategies.

There are more ways to skin a cat, and far more (and better) ways to sell your book! If you’ve read my blogs or books, you already know that the main focus of powerful book marketing strategies leans heavily on your book’s unique hooks. If your book has a dog in it, a dog that plays a big role in the story, dogs are a great unique hook! Reaching out to dog lovers, in addition to your standard, noisy, and crowded book buyer audience, can vastly broaden your buyer base!

Identifying your book’s unique hooks and broader audiences is a topic for another time. Today I want to share a wonderful way to use a unique hook in a BIG way.

PublicityPUBLICITY

Publicity is all about using the media to create exposure for your product. Publicity is about making news and writing press releases that not only have the power to gain a news story or an interview, but also have the oomph to grab some great SEO visibility along the way. Creating relationships with local and national news media contacts can be very powerful for your sales success.

Publicity can be a fantastic boon for authors seeking serious visibility, but it can be much more. There is an avenue of publicity that’s extremely easy to use AND can not only expand your standard marketing audience, but create a strong and loyal following. Every author wants that!

Charity 2CHARITIES

Let’s imagine a few unique story hooks for your fiction. (Remember, if you write nonfiction, your unique hooks are already built into the concepts!) Your fiction might have a dog, or a primary character who has survived cancer or drug abuse. There may be a cool unique story hook that involves cookies or gardening. There are ways to connect with a charity in every case.

dogs, 1Dogs—You can offer a percentage of your sales to the ASPCA. You can support a local Animal Rescue League event by being present at the event and donating a basket (book, coffee travel mug, doggie leash, and doggie treats) for the event organizers to raffle off. You can create an event of your own to support a specific charity. For example, organize a speaking/book signing at a local dog training school creating awareness for the Animal Rescue League, and give a portion of all your sales to that charity. Make sure you let the world know you’re doing these things! Plaster a banner on your website, talk about your ASPCA support on your twitter and Facebook, blog about the events you participate in or create, and be sure to add pictures. Get press releases out to your local and national media about your efforts. Follow dog lovers on your social networks. Post dog photos on your Pinterest and Instigram. Connect with dog lovers; show them you not only love dogs too, but have a great dog in your book…and this all results in SALES. The same can be done with cancer research and drug abuse recovery support.

Cookies, 1Cookies and Veggies—If your book has a cookie lover or avid gardener in it, those are fantastic unique hooks! Look around. Hundreds of people blog about sweets and gardening and belong to Yahoo Groups that focus on those topics. They belong to cooking, baking, and gardening clubs, live and virtual. Seeking out these people for your social network following is a great boon for broadening your book’s exposure, and locating the perfect charity to connect with to expand that exposure is just as easy. For bakeries and gardeners you could support things like the Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, or any organization that reaches out and assists people in need of food or shelter. Let the world know you’re supporting the charity and get those press releases out to local and national media venues.

nonfiction 1Nonfiction unique hooks—These are a piece of cake, too! If you wrote a book about organizing ones life, you might want to support a charity that focuses on mental health. If your book is about Holocaust or 911 survivors, there are many charitable organizations focused on helping survivors. Is your nonfiction about WWII? There are tons of war veteran support organizations that would love your support, AND thousands of people who support those charities that would love your book.

Analyze 13BOOK SALES

People DO purchase a book, product, or service that supports the charity they also support. This is an easy no brainer! I’m going to make a suggestion that most of my marketing author coaching clients always gasp at, mostly because they never though of it themselves. I strongly suggest that you sit down and re-read your own book. You will be amazed at how many unique hook connections you’ve already written there. These hooks can easily lead to charitable connections and a broader book buyer audiences than all of your author friends combined ever reached out to in their marketing efforts.

There is one caveat…be careful not to choose a random charity that does not relate to your book. Many authors feel a strong personal connection with a charity, but it has nothing to do with their book. To use this charity to help broaden your book buying audience will be far less effective than if you choose a charity that directly relates to your story or nonfiction topic. By all means, support your personally chosen charity but do so apart from your book. The key is to create connections with an audience that relates to your book. THAT’S how to create book sales.

Oh My, 1OH MY!

This is a fun, very simple, and creative brain-stretching way to look at reaching out to book buyers. Take a few hours out of your frantic “buy my book” shouting with other authors and try this approach. It certainly can’t hurt you, and it definitely can help a charity that needs support.

Do you have questions about creating connections or locating your unique hooks? Post them here, I’m happy to answer!

Get the book sales you want! Check out

The Author Success Coach 2015 Online Workshops

 

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TIPS FOR MAKING BETTER AUTHOR MARKETING CHOICES

Bull 1How many authors are out there, right this minute, trying to sell their books? Hundreds? Thousands? More? How scary is that? Whether you’re about to release your first book or your tenth, it’s more than scary, it can be paralyzingly terrifying. Here’s the bigger question: Are you getting the sales results from your marketing that you’re hoping for? I’m guessing the answer is, no. Never fear, there is a simple solution. All you need to do is make better marketing choices.

In my experience, authors have a tendency to latch onto a marketing idea then run with it—and a crowd of other authors doing that same strategy—even if the idea doesn’t really work. It’s like Pamplona in July, only these are writers, racing feverishly with their keyboards under their arms, and unknowingly running from success. But hey, they have each other, right? Unfortunately it always ends up the same, and there’s always blood.

It’s time for authors to step away from the competition, be more analytical, and make better marketing choices if they want better results. Here are five tips for how to do just that.

 

Popular, 1HOW POPULAR IS THE IDEA?

When writers get together, many of them fall in love the same marketing idea. Take free book giveaways, for example. There are several rationalizations for this extremely ineffective marketing sales strategy. There are the authors interested in getting on the top FREE books list. Most authors want to sell books, so that concept completely escapes me. A free book is not a sold book, and you can’t sell a book to someone who already received it for free. Some authors cling to the idea that if they give away a book, it will hook readers into loving their work and they’ll tell everyone they know to buy the book. The sad part about this concept is that the author has forgotten the biggest, most basic marketing rule of all…the rule of perceived value. How much is a free item worth? There’s a reason people say, “You get what you pay for.” It’s not that your book has little value, it’s that the recipient perceives that it has little value. If you have a great series and perpetually give away the first book in that series, it makes sense because the following books are available to purchase, and the free book is an invitation into the series. In that case, the free book LEADS to sales. Other than a giveaway that LEADS to sales, the only books you should ever give away should go to legitimate reviewers.

Beyond the free book giveaway idea are a hundred other silly author strategies which include games, puzzles, blasting twitter messages, guest blogging on other author’s blogs, and author book review swaps. Among the worst ideas is the “Lets authors all get together and do something to bring readers to us!” The problem is that these events seldom actually attract book buyers. They do however attract other authors who want to participate and sadly, authors are not your broadest book buyer base.

If you want better book sales, it’s time to STEP AWAY FROM OTHER AUTHORS! If an idea is vastly popular and all your author friends are doing it, that’s a clear sign that you should be doing something else—something that isn’t in the dead center of your shouting competition.

 

worth effort 1IS THE IDEA WORTH THE EFFORT? COST? TIME?

Some authors have deep pockets and they lean toward hiring a service to handle their book marketing. It’s a nice idea, but be careful with your money. Be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. If a company guarantees that your promotion or advertisement will be seen by thousands of people, find out who those people are. Often companies geared toward book marketing merely pull together a lot of authors, and those other authors are the people most likely to see your ad. Authors are too busy trying to sell their own books to be perusing and considering the purchase of other authors’ books. Ask exactly who will be seeing your promotion or ad and step away, wallet intact, if it looks like other authors are the primary audience. If not and you can afford the service, by all means go for it.

Stepping out on your own often means thinking more creatively. Frequently something wonderful comes to town and it can be a huge boon for your particular book, but only if you’re thinking independently and creatively will you recognize these opportunities. For example, if your book is about a circus or has a circus as a major component of the story, look around. Is the circus coming to town? Is the local museum doing an exhibit on circus history? Is there a clown school in your town or city? Local connections are great ways to start testing your marketing ideas. But is this idea worth the time and energy? If the visiting circus has no problem with you selling and signing books at the entry of their venue, you may want to go for it. If you want to set up a speaking engagement at the clown school before or after a public performance, connect with the directors and see how you can make it happen. If the museum will only permit you to set up a speaking/book signing event if you guarantee to bring in 1,000 people for the exhibit…think twice, it may take too much of your time, energy, and advertising dollars. OR…it may help you sell that many more books.

The point of all this speculation is that it’s far more effective to strike out on your own, be creative and original, and reach out to people interested in your book’s unique hook—in this case the circus. The question is, is the effort, cost, and time worth it? Only you can determine that. Most times it is. Other times, it may fall short. With good creative efforts and smart time management, it can work really well, expose your book to a new audience, and create more sales than anything you’ve ever done before. Always step back after the event and make sure it brought the results you wanted. If not, decide what you could have done differently or better. If it was successful, schedule the next event with joy and enthusiasm.

 

Oposite, 1HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TRYING THE OPPOSITE?

If all the runners are running to the right and all the bulls are following them…run left. If every author is shouting at genre lover book clubs, look for the opposite way to reach lovers of that genre. Book marketing is such an abstract concept to authors that they tend to think BOOKS and only BOOKS. But what you should be thinking about is not books, not readers of books, not genre lovers…but lovers of the unique concepts, ideas, and events inside your book.

ALWAYS REMEMBER—you are not marketing books, you are marketing A PRODUCT TO PEOPLE. Those people like things. Things like the circus, motorcycles, dogs, wine, gardening, or whatever interesting unique hook is already written inside your book. Marketing is all about creating awareness of your product and making a connection with people who will love your product. Limiting your marketing strategies to just book buyers, genre lovers, and book clubs is like choosing to talk to only the guests staying in one room of a thousand-room hotel.

The opposite of what most authors do is to think about the broader target buyer for your product. If your book is a love story between a small town girl and a Harley riding loner and you just market to romance lovers and romance book clubs, you’ve just missed a huge marketing opportunity! Search motorcycles, Harley Davidson motorcycles, bikers, and motorcycle culture on twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo Groups and marvel at the massive audience who love that unique hook. The women who love motorcycles also read and buy books. Connect with them and you’ve just multiplied your marketing audience by thousands.

The best part of all this is that there are no other authors trying to get your audience’s attention. Do the opposite. It will always pay off.

 

New Audiences, 1IDENTIFY NEW AUDIENCES FOR A BOOST IN SALES

We touched on this a bit already. Your unique story hooks will lead you to broader audiences in a marketing strategy that will only work for your book and no one else’s. But think about this for a moment. I guarantee that there is more than one unique hook within your book. There were two in the story between a small town girl and a Harley riding loner. The first one was motorcycles, plus leather, motor cycle culture, biker boots, etc. The second one is small town living, plus gardening, diners, cooking, and coffee. If you think about it, you’ve already written several unique hooks right in your book.

Locating the audiences for these hooks is just as creative a process as writing your book, mind you. Search small town living on twitter, Facebook and Yahoo Groups. You’ll discover large groups of people talking about small town life. Connecting with these groups gives you the opportunity to talk about the small town lifestyle in your book. If there’s a gardener or a short order diner cook in your book, search online and located groups of people talking about those subjects. If a hook is biker boots or leather jackets, search out Facebook pages owned by businesses that sell those products and communicate with the followers.

Connection is the key to effective marketing. That means talking with lovers of your unique hooks about the topic, NOT begging them to buy your book. Make friends, and never forget to have your book noted clearly in your bio and/or on your email tag for yahoo groups.

 

Analyze 4TEST YOUR RESULTS

The best thing about identifying and using your unique hooks to locate and connect with prospective book buyers is bigger than just stepping away from your competition for best results. It’s a great way to grow sales steadily between your current release and the next release. So many authors reach for the stars, have a great release and big sales, then suddenly their sales fall off drastically. This is the time to reach out to a new unique hook audience. Gain more sales, watch to make sure the audience was responsive enough then move on to the next unique hook.

Writing a book is a solitary creative effort. Marketing a book is a performance art. Testing to see which audiences and efforts bring the best results will help you to continue to make better marketing choices. Better choices lead to better sales.

 

My final thought for you: if you want to run with the bulls, plan a trip, buy a plane ticket and run with the bulls, not with your fellow authors. Pamplona is far less dangerous.

Go and be successful!

Questions? I’m happy to answer!

 

Check out the 2015 Online Workshops taught by Author Success Coach Deborah Riley-Magnus.

 

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BOOK BUYER HIDE AND SEEK – 3 WAYS TO CREATE BOOK BUYER LOYALTY

Confused 2Among the biggest things that baffle authors is how they can sell one book well, but the next one fizzles and dies on the vine. Where did all those book buyers go? You wrote a story as good or better than the first. You were comfortably confident because of all the great reviews and compliments you received. Somehow between the glowing blush of success and the release of the next book, your book buyers seem to have simply disappeared! Where did all your fans go?

The real truth of this conundrum is that until you have sold several books really well, those book buyers aren’t really your fans. They might be fans of your genre or subgenre, or they might be interested in the unique hooks inside your story, but they aren’t quite your loyal fans just yet.

To be a successful selling author, it takes an understanding of the market as well as the stories you write. Between your first book and your second, the book buyers who helped you feel so successful have wondered off to other authors and other books. It’s only natural—out of sight, out of mind.

We would all love to be able to sit on our laurels and enjoy the luxury of just writing the next book. Unfortunately the reality of the marketing world simply doesn’t allow that, at least not until you’ve been sitting on the Top Ten Best Sellers List for several books. We all have to start somewhere, and if your goal is to have loyal fans waiting with baited breath for your next book, you will need to put in the work.

Here are a few tips to help you create loyal fans and keep them.

 

Analyze 1ANALYZE

When writers drop the ball, we sense it. That’s why we have proofreaders, beta readers, editors, critique groups, and writing craft coaches to help us get back on track and create the best possible product.

When authors with a published books drop the marketing ball, it’s another story all together.

All’s not lost. You did have success with your previous book. Whether it was sales in the hundreds or thousands, you felt sure enough of your fan base to write and put out a second book. Now all you need to do is figure out what worked right the first time.

Analysis is extremely important. It’s time to seriously consider everything you did last time because, honestly, it was the combination of all those efforts that created your previous success.

Too many authors imagine that they worked so hard for the sales of their first book, that it should be a breeze this time around. They figure they can skip a few steps because they didn’t like that twitter crap, or dealing with blogging anyway. This is false security talking and you need to ignore those thoughts.

Here’s what I usually see. The author enthusiastically went for it the first time. They wrote a great book and understood that it deserved to be efficiently and effectively marketed. They focused on building following, either through genre lover groups or better yet, through the unique hooks within their story. They blogged religiously, faithfully build and connected with their twitter and Facebook following, unique hook online groups, and live groups and organizations. They created awareness for their coming book and watched the success flow when the book was finally released. Then…they simply smiled and lowered their head to the keyboard to write the next book. They figured they’d earned it, right?

So, now that the second book has been released, why are all those wonderful book buyers playing hide and seek?

It isn’t that they forgot about you—YOU FORGOT ABOUT THEM! The connections you strategically, carefully, and painfully made with those readers fell by the wayside. What’s a book buyer to do? Buy the next book that reaches out and peaks their interest, respond to the next author who connects with them, and pay attention to the creative marketing efforts all around. Unfortunately, you and your next book are nowhere in sight. These weren’t your fans because fans crave as much loyalty from the author, as the author craves from them.
Analyze EVERYTHING you did before, and put it into practice again so that you can connect with those book buyers who loved your work again and cultivate them.

 

Crowd 1LOCATE A LARGER AUDIENCE

With each book, the author should not only remain connected to the people who bought the last book, but add more prospective book buyers to the fold. This is an ongoing effort. We talked about staying connected earlier, but expanding your audience is the key to eventually reaching that Top Ten Best Sellers List.

There are a thousand ways to locate a larger audience for your books. If you’re writing a series, expanding audience should be a piece of cake. Beyond genre focus, the main character and story has qualities that attract readers. Whether your MC smokes cigars, loves the gym, chocolate, exploring caves, or gardening, there are ways to reach those audiences in a broader way with each successive book. For example, if your character rides a bike and you’ve used that unique hook to connect with bike riders, bike lovers, bike racing fans, or mountain bike clubs, you can take that further with your next book. If the character rides through the streets of Paris in the first book, but finds him or herself racing along the hills in Tuscany, you can add a unique hook audience loaded with people who love travel or tourism in addition to the bike lover unique hook audience you already have. Layering audience on top of audience broadens your exposure to prospective book buyers.

If you write stand alone novels, there is still a similarity from book to book. In many cases it might be genre, in other cases it might be the author’s preference for writing stories that take place in military environments, adventurous political arenas, or maybe even in small town America. Seek out this similarities from book to book and be sure to build larger audience with each book. The first book’s primary marketing strategy might have targeted lovers of stories about small town America. Keeping close to that audience between books promises that you will continue to write books like that. And add the lovers of small town lifestyle, values, and attitudes can add a large number of new prospective book buyers for our next book.

Authors who seek readers through basic author strategies of genre and book related marketing miss the bigger picture. If you’ve written a mystery, by all means connect with mystery lovers. But if you want huge audience and sales, you must also seek those audiences through the unique hooks inside your story, AND keep in touch with that audience between books.

 

Holding Hands 1MAINTAIN A CONTINUOUS BOND

Building loyalty takes effort, but it’s a joyful effort because you’ve already made this audience happy with your first book. Obviously, maintaining a continuous bond can’t take the same shape that your original awareness marketing campaigns did; it has to be more intimate and more interesting. It must show that you care about the people who love your book and want to be connected to them. Here are a few tips to keep the love alive between books. Oh, and here’s the best part…these efforts are not so time consuming that you won’t have time to write that next book. Just about 15-20 minutes a day will work.

Website Activities – What do you have on your website? Just the basic information? Here’s the book, here’s the link, here’s the blurb, now go buy it. That’s not conducive to cultivating a loyal fan base at all. In fact, it kind of ignores your fan base and focuses on people who don’t even own the book yet. Think about how you can create a wonderful place for your fans. Consider a website page that updates your fans about the next book. Consider a website page that shows all the outtakes or back stories for your primary characters. Consider an interactive page where your fans can drop you an email question and you can answer it on the website for all to see. Think about a page with a map of your main character’s travels

Blogging – Why not let your characters blog every other week? Let them respond to comments too. Let them give subtle hints as to where the next story might go, or where it takes place.

Speaking – Of course no one can really hop on a plane and go anywhere to speak with their fans, especially if you’re just building your author career. But why can’t you conduct a interview through a Google Hang Out Q&A Event? Live yahoo chats? If you do speak live and do book signings, be sure to take pictures and share them on your website with your fans.

Contests – I’m NOT a proponent of giving away free books at all. Nothing in the logical world of marketing confirms that free anything sells more product. However, there is a way to use your back list to help promote future books. If you are a series writer, consider giving away a copy of your first book in the series. Some authors and publisher have adopted this practice and made the first book in a series perpetually free. Of course, this requires that the author continually market, build audience, and create a loyal fan base. Remember, there are other ways to have a contest without giving away a book at all. For the book that created the bike riding fan base, the author can give away a tire pump, or cool water bottles, or even a bike if they care to go that far.

My final thought for you all is to remember what you love as a fan, and what makes you look elsewhere for that gratification a fan wants most. If your favorite movie start stops making movies, you’ll get a new favorite movie star. If your favorite television show takes additional steps through their website or twitter or YouTube to get you involved, you become more and more loyal. Think about what you want, and give your fans what they want. They crave connection. Don’t drop that ball and find yourself in a position to start from square one all over again. Success breeds success, but only if you cultivate it.

Go and be successful!

Questions? I’m happy to answer!

 

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5 DUMB THINGS SMART AUTHORS DO

Dumb Things 2Authors are the most courageous, talented, creative, passionate people I know, and trust me, I know A LOT of authors! Somehow these remarkable qualities seem to mutate into a new DNA, like cancer cells, and turn brilliant author minds into backward thinkers when it comes to marketing. I do understand. Marketing is one of those scary places, but the bottom line is the bottom line … sales, or the lack thereof. Authors must market, and this daunting task has split authors into factions and made a lot of them toss up their hands in defeat.

There’s no need for all the drama. Marketing is simple. You locate the unique hooks in your book. You find people who love those unique hooks. And you make them aware of your book. See, simple! But sometimes it’s too simple and authors, being the amazing thinkers they are, tend to complicate it and make everything about the process book-centric or genre-centric. Not necessary and terribly limiting. As I said—marketing is simple. Product + Correct Target Buyer = SALES. If an author wants big sales, it’s all about thinking BIGGER than books or genre. It’s about simple marketing.

Here are the 5 limiting behaviors I’ve consistently seen in smart authors that drastically minimize their ability to make great sales.

 

Procrastination 1PROCRASTINATE – It can wait, can’t it?

Who thinks they should wait until the book is available before they market? Far too many, that’s for sure! Marketing is all about locating the correct audience you want to sell your product to, making them aware of the product BEFORE it is available, and connecting so that the audience is waiting with baited breath.

A good rule of thumb is to begin creating awareness of your coming book at least six months before the book’s release. Six months ahead you should be building BIG following among people who love the unique hooks in your book. Six months before release, you should start blogging about your unique hook subjects, building a website, and keeping your eyes open for unique hook events that might put your book in front of huge audiences who love the things in your book. Don’t procrastinate.

The person who tells you that you can’t sell a product before it’s available is not a person who understands the dynamics of effective marketing. Why are television shows promoted months in advance? Movie trailers blasted long before the film’s release? Simple … they are being marketed to create awareness and build excitement for the coming product.

 

Sorround themselves 2SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH OTHER AUTHORS – Authors buy books too!

Yes, authors do buy books too, but hey, why are authors always limiting themselves to an author based sales audience? I’ve seen authors with thousands of FB followers, all authors, wondering why they’re not selling enough books. The reason is simple. Authors are too busy trying to sell their books to you. You don’t buy every book pitched to you by your author friends, so why do you think they will? Authors represent such a small percentage of possible sales it’s almost insane to waste marketing time them.

Besides … other authors are the COMPETITION. Don’t guest blog on another author’s blog. The blog followers there like the blog owner and will seldom make a purchase of a different author’s book. Also, never let another author guest blog on your blog. Keep your hard earned unique hook followers and fans to yourself.

So, the question is, where do you guest blog? Do a Google search for blogs that focus on your unique hooks. If there are motorcycles in your book, check out all the cool bloggers who talk about biker culture. Ask them to guest blog and you’ll be amazed at the difference. You will have blogged to a huge collection of motorcycle lovers, and there’s not another author in sight! Step away from other authors and seek ways to build following and locate pockets of prospective book buyers based on your book’s unique hooks.

 

Game of numbers 1FORGET THAT MARKETING IS A GAME OF NUMBERS – But I have 1000 followers!

All authors forget the numbers until royalty payout time. “I have a thousand followers! They all said they’d buy my book! I don’t understand. Why did I only sell twelve books?”

Marketing is a simple game of numbers. Period. It’s math, and nothing compromises math. We can manipulate numbers in hopes of justifying a marketing strategy, but in the end, the numbers never lie. This is the truth about numbers:

You can expect a 1% return on your numbers. So, if you have 1,000 followers, that should result in 10 books sold. (The extra two mentioned above came from the author’s mom and sister.) Sobering thought, isn’t it? So, where do you get the numbers you need to make the sales you want?

If you want to sell 1,000 books, you would need 100,000 followers. Don’t faint…take a deep breath…it’s easier than you think. This doesn’t mean 100,000 twitter or FB followers at all. It simply means that you will need to connect with 100,000 people and that’s extremely possible.

Look at it this way. If you build a strong unique hook following on twitter of 5,000 followers…If you have a good 2,000 unique hook FB followers…If every time you blog on your own blog, over 1,000 of your unique hook blog followers view it…If you have joined 3 FB unique hook groups, each with over 10,000 members (30,000)…If you regularly guest blog with 3 unique hook bloggers, each with thousands of followers (9,000)…If you join 3 unique hook yahoo groups, each with thousands of followers (10,000)…If you speak regularly at local unique venues about your unique hook subject (500)…If your unique hook connects with professional people and you join 7 groups on LinkedIn, each with thousands of followers (35,000)…well, I’m sure you’re getting my point.

The trick to getting the numbers you need is not only to stay away from loading your following and focus with other authors, but to connect with your unique hook lover prospective buyers as often and in as many different places as possible.

Want more sales? You have several unique hooks written right into your book. Locate those audiences too.

 

shortcut 2CHOOSE THE SHORT CUT ROUTE – Wow, it’s so much easier!

Short cuts don’t work. Let me say that one more time, only louder … SHORT CUTS DO NOT WORK. Tying to be more efficient is one thing. I have no issues with authors pre-scheduling blog posts, or tweets … my problem comes in the fact that authors who consistently do the pre-scheduling, completely forget to follow up or check to see if the tweets or blog actually happened.

If you pre-schedule your tweets, you’re not there to respond. Granted, you’ll be able to see if someone retweeted or responded to your tweets later, when you get back to your tweetdeck or twitter page but hey … the person who retweeted or commented is LONG GONE. Twitter is all about IMMEDIACY. It’s a constant stream of people, jumping onto the train and jumping off of the train. In order to make connections, you have to be there when you tweet! Connection requires immediate response, not delayed responses to comments that the person has already forgotten about. My suggestion is to tweet for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the afternoon. Tweet only about your unique hook subjects, your blog entry links, and your coming book. Tweet at least ten tweets, one per minute and in between, retweet and comment on those flowing along your twitter stream. THEN LOG OFF. This is good time management. Never get too caught up on twitter, or FB, or any social network.

Another issue on twitter is the “I can get you 10,000 followers” short cut. Guess what … SHORT CUTS DON’T WORK! Who are those 10,000 followers? Are they unique hook lovers? Are they book buyers? Are they even human beings? Are a majority of them one person with a hundred different accounts? Random, unfocused numbers are as bad as low numbers. Make sure every moment you spent on twitter is focused on your goal … to connect with your unique hook followers and have that result in sales!

If you pre-schedule a blog post, PLEASE MAKE A NOTE TO CHECK ON IT! I’ve seen pre-scheduled blog posts not go up, go up at times the author didn’t intend, go up without the photos, and go up with the links mysteriously missing. Make note of the date the blog entry is supposed to go up and CHECK the post! If that’s too complicated, do a Google search for your name and Google will remind you that the blog has gone up. Save yourself some embarrassment, especially if you plan to go out to all your 100,000 connections and tell them to come over to read your blog.

 

Taking Risk 1AFRAID TO TRY NEW THINGS – But … but … what if it doesn’t work?

Remember, we all learned to use a fork, to walk, to dress ourselves, to choose a subject for our education, to say yes, or no, or look further for the right partner, job, or life choice. Authors are human beings and we try new things every single day. Trust your instincts! Just because no other author has tried a marketing technique, doesn’t men that you shouldn’t. Protect your wallet and steer away from those great advertising packages that feature your book with thousands of other authors’ books. Who needs the competition when you can be visible to thousands of people who already love the unique hooks in your book? Walk your own trail and seek out prospective book buyers who will run, not walk, to buy your book. Be different! IT IS SO WORTH THE RISK!

Are you a smart author doing any of these five dumb things? Which of these bad habits will you tackle first! Got a question, I’ll be happy to answer!

 

 

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3 WAYS TO GO DOWN THE AUTHOR MARKETING RABBIT HOLE

rabbit hole

I’ve always found that the easiest way to talk about marketing with authors is to take the whimsical approach. It helps to show the creative side of this so-called monster, and makes the author comfortable with this challenging and sometimes overwhelming task. Like learning to cook or sew, it all starts with exploration. We learn how to use a knife, how to choose fabrics, and how to create something delicious or beautiful. It’s how we learned to write. A story seed drops into the mind and the creative juices take over. Marketing is no different. Every new and exciting thing we try requires taking a leap of faith. Learning how to  ride a bike, how to run a marathon, how to knit or raise children are all pretty much the same. Learning new things, the rules that govern those activities or results, and exploring ways to be the best at it is just part of human nature.

Unfortunately, most authors look at marketing as a foreign concept designed to interrupt or corrupt the creative writing mind. Not so at all. Great marketing is a creative process, just like great writing. It generates excitement in the creator as well as those viewing the marketing efforts. It connects prospective readers to your book and all the wonderfulness you put into it. The only difference between writing a great book and marketing a great book is that to write it, the author had no fear of leaping willingly down the rabbit hole.

Now, it’s time to consider taking that leap again … this time to create great, powerful, and super creative marketing to help get more sales for your book.

Here are 3 ways you can take that leap down the Author Marketing Rabbit Hole to find solutions you might have thought were too difficult to locate or implement. In that rabbit hole are all the answers! Be brave and jump right on in with me!

Alice 1ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Willingly take the Courageous Plunge

Alice might have been bored, she might have been curious, or she might have even been rebellious; all three qualities work great for an author afraid of marketing. Like Alice, you need to follow an idea all the way down the rabbit hole before you can actually see how it can work for you and your book.

Being brave is not new to authors. You had the courage to write your idea on paper and watch it go out into the world. The rules of marketing involved locating the right audiences for your book, creating a bond with those prospective book buyers, and allowing those buyers to make the purchase. None of this is familiar to authors, but those things are techniques easily learned.

For now, take that brave soul that helped you write your book and jump! Take the leap and let ideas flow and clatter, crash and burn, meld and explode. Do this for fifteen or twenty minutes every few days. Sit quietly and slip down the rabbit hole. Imagine yourself as the customer and think about what touches you, connects with you, compels you to make a purchase of anything…not just a book. Explore the creative and not so creative marketing approaches you’ve seen for everything from cleaning products and car advertisements, to commercials for burial plots and coffee creamer. Let these thoughts come and go. Don’t be analytical, just feel. What emotion made you want to buy a product or hire a service? Which promotions entertained you? Which movie trailers made you want to run and buy a ticket, and which commercials or billboards made you smile, but gave you no desire to react to the offer. Marketing is going on all around you. Let it all play in your quiet space for a few quiet moments, then simply let it go.

This is the true essence of dropping down the rabbit hole. Because you let the concepts and ideas simply flow across your brain, subconsciously your brain snagged a few that will stick with you. Because you didn’t think hard and worry or put the concepts under a microscope, the process has a chance to become second nature. You’ve just introduced your mind to the creative marketing process by allowing it to observe what made you feel and what entertained. This is the truth of marketing.

By willingly slipping down this rabbit hole, you will discover that marketing is a) less scary than you thought, b) far more creative that you imagined, and c) needs an emotional connection to work. Bravo. After just a few rabbit hole sessions, you will have learned far more about marketing that you would have by reading a hundred books or listening to a thousand other authors. You’ll also discover that you no longer need to sit quietly to do this, it will become a constant little wheel turning in your mind all the time.

queen 2QUEEN OF HEARTS – Use Strategy

This approach to the rabbit hole is very different. The queen sits at the bottom of the hole and waits to see what will drop into her queendom. Before it even arrives, she’s got a plan.

Are you a planner? Does blindly following Alice down the rabbit hole terrify you? Are you the kind of person who packs for a vacation weeks ahead of time, repacks various items, and watches the weather at your vacation destination like a hawk? The Queen of Hearts doesn’t like surprises, so she has a plan for everything, even a wayward author falling into her grasp.

If you want to use strategy for marketing, you have to first of all acknowledge that the marketing rabbit hole exists. It’s the hallway to success and you will need to take that path. Instead of jumping in and letting ideas flow, you may want to plan for what may come up. For example, if you are specifically seeking a way to approach a particular audience—lovers of motor cycles because that is a primary unique hook within your story—introduce that into your mind before you start your quiet slide down the rabbit hole. You’ll be amazed how many concepts will slip and slither past your thoughts and how many directions to that audience become clearly visible during a quiet marketing rabbit hole session. It’s all about guiding your subconscious toward your goal. Like Alice, you’ll get better and better at seeing the solutions as you familiarize yourself with this process. A strong strategy will point your mind in the right direction.

hatter 1MAD HATTER – Learn the Lay of the Land

Here’s one crazy dude, but the Mad Hatter is a perfect tour guide for the marketing world at the bottom of the rabbit hole. He’ll show the right and wrong paths to take—he just might not always guide you correctly. Mad Hatter is all about making mistakes and laughing about it as you turn around and try another direction. He’s all about making it okay to fail, and making success all the sweeter because of the journey.

I clearly understand that many authors want to know the lay of the land before they proceed. These are the serious researchers, the detail people, and the authors who make a strong book business plan before moving ahead with a project. Learning the lay of the marketing world isn’t hard, but it is a convoluted path that can, like Mad Hatter, easily lead you down a hundred wrong roads before you locate the right one. Here’s the trick—every path is right, but only for the right author. What works for one authors and sells thousands of books, may crash and burn for another author.

Marketing for a book is as personalized as the author’s taste in Indian food. It all varies. Learning the lay of the land could mean reading hundreds of books on marketing, taking workshops and classes, and asking every marketing professional who’ll listen and answer your questions. One technique could be a gold mine for one book, but not work at all for the next book. Twitter alone might be a boon for one genre and author but for another, three different networks working in harmony may be required. Understanding what works best for you and your book requires taking everything learned from the resource you use…then taking the leap down the rabbit hole for creative ideas. Everything you learned from your resources will help strategize the creative solutions you discover on your journey. You already have an idea of the terrain, so when a wonderful, creative marketing concept emerges for your book, you can apply everything you know to create the sales you want.

Just remember, the Mad Hatter loves to laugh, so laugh with him when something doesn’t work. Be ready to create your own hybrid of marketing techniques that will work for your book. Oh, and have fun!

white rabbit 2So there you have it. 3 Ways to go down the author marketing rabbit hole. Which way will you take the plunge?

 

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Finding Author Success 2nd edition available in print & ebook Amazon, B&NKobo

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MARKETING ME! TEN TIPS FOR MARKETING THE AUTHOR … THE PRODUCT BEHIND THE PRODUCT

Golden Olden Days 1Back in the golden olden days, big publishers handled authors like movie stars, and dealt with their publicity and marketing with savvy and boatloads of cash. Authors never had to worry about where to go or what to say to get news about their book out to the public. It was all done for them. Publicists and promotional teams provided itineraries and scripts for their authors.

We no longer have this kind of guidance, and few have the funds to hire publicists and promotional experts. These days, authors are responsible for taking ownership of their own marketing, whether they’ve self-published, contracted with a small or mid-sized publisher, or signed with one of the big boys. It’s just the way of the world.

Confused 1When I talk with authors all over the country, I hear the same question. Am I marketing myself, or am I marketing my book?  The implications of this question vary depending on the author. Some feel a need to be secretive and unapproachable, while others believe that their book is the only thing worth talking about. Still others feel they have the responsibility to share their opinions (well thought out or not) at every turn. Opinions are good and often valid, but does this action serve you and your career?

Let’s make this simple.

Yes, you MUST market yourself … and you must market yourself in the best way possible in order to build a successful career as an author. There are ten basic rules to always remember, and they stem from those simple lessons we learned in nursery school.

Be seen 1BE SEEN – Be sure your website and blog is polished and updated regularly. Be visible for a few minutes every day on your social networks like twitter and Facebook. Notice I said a few minutes, not hours. Make it fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the afternoon and that will be enough. Talk about your book’s unique story hooks and connect with your prospective book buyers and fans. Don’t hide, be seen.

Be availableBE AVAILABLE – Participate when your writing group needs you. Get involved with groups and organizations – live and online – that connect with the interesting things inside your book. Be available to speak or sign books when asked by the local gardeners club, or the neighborhood women’s club as well as the book clubs and traditional genre fan clubs. When the local gardeners club, or any group that connects with the unique hooks inside your book, is running a charity event, volunteer to help. Be available.

 

Be Caareful BE CAREFUL – Remember, enthusiasm is great and your opinion is valid, but don’t overstep your boundaries. Protect your work by keeping your little secrets, but be careful to keep another author’s little secrets too. Think before your speak, tweet, Facebook, or email.

 

Be PoliteBE POLITE – Always and everywhere, be polite and appropriate. Just because people on twitter have never met you, doesn’t mean they won’t remember if you’re impolite or unkind … or that they won’t pass the word. Being polite always pays off in the long run.

 

Be Better than Good 2BE BETTER THAN GOOD – As an author, as a marketing person, and as a human being, it’s best to know your weaknesses and seek improvement. Setting your ego aside and striving for improvement with your craft and your image, is often the catalyst for gaining great respect in any industry.

 

Be ObservantBE OBSERVANT – Know what’s going on in your writing group or your unique story hook community. Know what’s happening in the publishing industry, which changes almost daily. Keep your ears tuned in to shifts in the market. If your fan base is shrinking or expanding, you’ll know how to market to that audience for your next book. Even if your last book was a great success, without being aware of market shifts, you could be caught with your hands deep in your own empty pockets with the next book. Always look ahead and read the market predictions for book pricing, genre interest, and industry standard shifts.  Be well informed. It’s a big part of marketing yourself as an intelligent author, as well as a great storyteller.

Be CuriousBE CURIOUS – Ask questions when you can. If you get an opportunity to speak with a successful author, a literary agent, or a publisher, use the time wisely. Ask intelligent questions, and then think the answers through carefully. This is how to guide your career to the places you want. Listen, learn, and always consider the sources. Are they bias? Are they really answering your question, or guiding your mind elsewhere? Is that online resource always reliable? You’re smarter that you think. You’ll learn what you need, and discard the unimportant information. Your common sense is a stellar tool.

Be Professional, 1BE PROFESSIONAL – Always be professional. Be careful what you say and do, people are watching. Take pride in being an author and all of your accomplishments. Hold your head high and do what the real professionals do … turn negatives into positives, and focus on your goals.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABE SUCCESSFUL – Be successful every step of the way along your career. Even failures teach you something important about getting where you want to go. Complaining and pointing fingers, even if the accusations are valid, doesn’t appear professional to those watching. Slice the negatives from your life and move ahead, knowing you’re doing the writing and marketing work required to meet your goals. It’s a no-brainer.

 

Be Helpful, 1BE HELPFUL – Pay it forward in a good way. So many teachers, writers, authors, editors, beta readers, organizations, fans, and friends have helped you get where you are. Reach back and give another writer a hand up. Give them a chance to shine.

 

That’s how to market yourself well! You’re the product behind the product. Keeping yourself as polished as your writing is the key to making sure that your marketing strategies never hit a snag in the road.

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Finding Author Success Second Edition available in print and ebook

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Cross Marketing Magic for Authors available in print and ebook

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FREE Ten Tools for Author Success Handbook available for download at The Author Success Coach website.

 


AUTHORS ABOVE THE CROWD … STRATEGY

chess 2What’s your strategy for success? All authors have one, but often can’t actually explain it. Some writers join several author groups to learn what they can about marketing from their peers. You might be the kind of author who follows the pack. You probably don’t even realize you’re doing it, but every time you do a promotion or market your book, you’re doing it because another author did it, or your author friends are doing it. Other authors dig deep into their pockets to purchase solutions for selling books. It’s a strong direction for those who can afford it, but are they sure of the results? Could they be doing better?

To be heard above the crowd you have to step away from the crowd, and in this case, it’s the crowd of wonderful other authors. There is perceived safety in numbers and it’s lovely to have the support of other authors struggling through the same marketing trials and tribulations. You can all talk about failures and successes, but the problem is that you want to sell more books than they sell. So when it comes to seriously marketing, you have to look elsewhere.

There are good and effective ways to do this. First you must create your unique strategy. These are a few simple starting points to help you begin to make your mark, create bigger sales, and establish broader marketing exposure. Best of all, the exposure will be in places where other authors are not marketing. It will be totally unique to you and your book.

Your biggest strategy must be to be sure you know what you want, and who really wants to hear your message.

goals 2SET GOALS

What are your goals? Each person’s goals are different for a variety of reasons. Some authors are thrilled with giving away more books that anyone else. Some authors like exciting promotional blasts that bring big numbers to their blog stats or website visitor count. Others like the numbers with dollar signs in front of them so they watch their royalty reports. Some become obsessed with Amazon ranking numbers and the roller coaster of rising and falling emotions. Some like to write for a few loyal fans, while others want to create a million loyal fans. It really doesn’t matter what you feel is most important where your goals are concerned. If you meet those goals, you are successful. BUT, you must seriously take some time to set author career goals. With your goals in hand, it will be far easier to determine if your efforts are successful or not.

bookbuyer 1TALK TO BOOK BUYERS

I’m sure you have a wonderful number of friends on Facebook and followers on twitter, but who are they? Are they mostly other authors? Take a serious look at your social media followers. The best rule of thumb is 1 author to every 10 prospective book buyers or fans. That means that your first step is to start talking to book buyers. So, how do you find them?

The simplest way is to LOOK INSIDE YOUR BOOK. Right in your manuscript are probably a hundred clues for where your prospective book buyers can be located. This isn’t about focusing on genre lovers at all. Naturally you will make yourself visible to romance or mystery or fantasy or whatever genre lover relates to your book. This is about digging deeper and locating target prospective book buyers based on the unique hooks inside your story or nonfiction subject.

For example, does your romance take place in a seaside town? Is your mystery about a murder during a scuba diving adventure? Does your main character bake cookies, or drink coffee, or lift weights, or weed the garden to work through their issues? Does your vampire or werewolf or faery princess play an instrument or love black licorice or dance for a living? Is your historic fiction connected with the Victorian or medieval or 1050’s era? These are the magic unique elements that CONNECT with prospective book buyers. You need to make followers and friends with these people.

Simply search twitter and Facebook for groups or people connected with whatever your unique hook happens to be. Make friends and follow people who like your unique hooks. Find blogs about those subjects and follow them. Always use your twitter and Facebook links when communicating with these people and invite them to follow or friend you.

These efforts will quickly help you reach the correct 10:1 ratio of prospective book buyers to other authors. Then, when you market or promote or talk about your book, you’ll be talking to the right people.

Next time, we’ll talk the best ways to prepare for reaching out to these fantastic broad audiences. Connecting is the key, and the process is fun and far easier than you might think.

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Finding Author Success Second Edition available in print and ebook

Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N

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Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N


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