Category Archives: Author Success Tips

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!

 Write Brain.Left BrainAVAILABLE NOW

 

Magnus - FINDING AUTHOR SUCCESS 750 x 1200 Magnus - CROSS MARKETING MAGIC 750 x 1200Finding Author Success 2nd edition available in print & ebook Amazon, B&N, Sony, & Kobo

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors available in print & ebook Amazon, B&N, Sony, & Kobo


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?

 Write Brain.Left BrainAVAILABLE NOW

 

Magnus - FINDING AUTHOR SUCCESS 750 x 1200 Magnus - CROSS MARKETING MAGIC 750 x 1200

 

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

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors available in print & ebook Amazon, B&N & Kobo


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.

Write Brain.Left Brain

AVAILABLE NOW

Finding Author Success Second Edition available in print and ebook

Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors available in print and ebook

Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N