Category Archives: Publicity

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.

Books_moneyBOOK 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!

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ABOVE THE CROWD … 8 WAYS TO GET YOUR AUTHOR MARKETING VOICE HEARD

crowd 1How many writers are there in the world? How many recently signed literary agent or publishing contracts? How many are self-publishing? How quickly do books come onto the market now that e-readers have grown so unbelievably popular? And … how many new books actually launch every day?

The numbers are staggering! Some of these books are destined for greatness, written by best selling authors and backed by big publishing monsters. Others have fantastic sales potential, providing the author is ready, willing and able to shout loud enough to be heard over the din. Some books will soar to the top ten Free books on Amazon because the author understands the dynamics of the game. Others will simply float in the middle, getting admirable visibility and fairly good sales. Then there are the duds. Not because they aren’t good books or well written, but simply because the author has no clue as to how to navigate the marketing and promotions world.

stand apart 2If 1,000 books in the exact same genre and subgenre as yours are released on the exact same day, how will you become visible? Now, imagine 10,000 books flooding the market just as yours comes along. What are you going to do?

Most authors have two choices. They either try everything and anything, or they freeze like deer in the headlights. Neither is actually effective for good sales results.

This is a new author marketing series just for you! In this series we’ll cover 8 wonderful ways to get your Author Marketing Voice heard, and heard by the right people … the ones who want to buy your books.

stand apart 4Over the next few months we will cover:

  • STRATEGY – How to develop the perfect marketing strategy for your book and your audience
  • PREPARE – How to be ready for your launch with an already waiting book buyer base
  • BROADCAST – How to set up your platforms so that they are constantly blasting the right message to the right target
  • 3 – 2 – 1 – How to create the book launch as creative and powerful as the book you wrote
  • EXPLORE AND CONQUER – How to find and approach audiences other authors aren’t even thinking about
  • ROAD SHOW – How to take your marketing live and expose your book to broader audiences
  • FUEL – How to keep your sales momentum alive and well
  • RELOAD – How to do it all again for your next book

Next time, STRATEGY, the electrical current that makes any marketing machine run!  Are you ready?

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Writers

For over six years now, I’ve been coaching authors and working with writers in live and online workshops. I teach them how to be more successful, how to gain more book sales and how to negotiate the world of marketing, promotions and public relations. I know, I know, the thought of marketing is like having to eat vegetable you don’t like or do 20 minutes on the treadmill – all necessary, but oh how we hate it. Unfortunately, I sometimes get the brunt of an author’s frustrations over having to do what they don’t like.

Over these years I’ve noted patterns that appear in every place I speak, in every workshop I teach and with every author I coach. I thought it might be helpful to share them with all the writers I know. Here are the 5 things I’ve learned about writers.

WRITERS WANT TO KNOW WHY – No matter where I am or what kind of writer I’m talking to, this question always comes up. Why do I need to blog? Why do I have to tweet? Why do I need a website? This list can go on forever, but only a clear understanding of how marketing works helps them understand. What I’ve come to realize, is that the question WHY is usually an umbrella covering a plethora of other things, some related to writing and being successful, some completely unrelated. We writers are a stubborn bunch. We have to be. This is a tough industry to break into, survive within and ultimately find success. When a writer desperately wants to have great book sales, it’s often time to set our stubbornness aside so we look for the solutions. As a coach and workshop instructor, it’s my job to discover what that WHY is all about. Usually the question isn’t so much WHY but more like “Why do I have to do it?” The author in question may be working two jobs, meeting publishing deadlines, dealing with kids or well, simply stubborn. The answer to the big WHY question is painfully simple – because EVERYONE has to do it. The basic techniques of marketing are tried and true and have been for centuries. They are as true for you as they were for Andrew Carnegie.

  • You have a product
  • Your are in a competitive industry
  • You must make your product stand apart from that competition
  • You must make the public aware of your product
  • You must promote your product
  • And you must grow and maintain sales for that product

No one writes a book in hopes that no one will know about it or buy it. The basics of marketing are important and everyone with a product to sell must use them.

WRITERS WANT TO KNOW IF THERE’S A SHORTCUT – Oh what a great question and I totally understand why a writer would ask. A shortcut to work gets us there faster or helps us avoid traffic jams. A shortcut at dinnertime, like prepared foods, take-out and a dishwasher, saves us valuable time in the evenings. We are programmed to look for shortcuts. Time is finite and everyone on the planet gets the same 24 hours in any given day. Looking for shortcuts is expected … but shortcuts –  like auto twitter and auto Facbook post programs, and blogs that announce themselves on every other social media you use – not so much save time as limit your capacity for creating impact. Short cuts don’t work when marketing, in fact I’d go so far as to say they never work best when marketing. So many times an author will write to me after taking a workshop and say that they’ve done all the things recommended but received little to no response. After some exploration I always unscover that they’ve taken these handy-dandy shortcuts. Yes, they’ve saved time but what they’ve unfortunately done is become so automated, their tweets, Facebook posts, and blog announcements LOOK like a machine did them. All those sparks in their social media circles are flat, without personality and unfortunately, without true marketing impact. Because marketing is a living, breathing thing, it lends itself to being brilliant … but only when backed by a human being. By all means test all the shortcuts. I suggest you test them one at a time then take a breath and do it all again without the shortcuts, using your personality and style. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes! Using shortcuts and saving time but gaining little to no sales is just … foolish.

WRITERS WANT TO KNOW HOW TO FIND THE TIME – This one too is painfully simple. There are so many things a writer does in life, everything from taking care of family to valiantly protecting their valuable writing time. Finding the time to do everything means biting the bullet and making a plan, a schedule, a check list, a reminder buzzer on your cell phone, a kitchen timer … ANYTHING IT TAKES to be efficient. This requires good time management skills and discipline, but have you ever known a successful person in any field who doesn’t have good time management skills and discipline? Everyone’s time management style is different, but only those who master it actually get everything done.

WRITERS WANT TO KNOW HOW TO STAND APART – It’s a dog-eat-dog publishing world out there, crowded with books and shouting authors and dwindling distribution points. Whether you are published by a big, small or medium publisher or self published, and even if you’re a writer just finishing your first book, the question has always been, “How do I stand apart from everyone else?” You did it with your writing and wrote a book that no one else could write because it came from your unique mind. Now it’s time to take that powerful creative gift and use it for marketing. So what happens? So many authors find themselves moving with the crowd they had hoped to stand apart from. This happens ALL THE TIME. Take a look at any author’s twitter following or Facebook friends and you’ll discover that the majority (and sometimes ALL) of them are other authors. I think this is based in fear – fear of tooting our own horn, fear that without other authors around us we’ll falter, fear of … well … success. It makes sense to have lots of authors around us, but it doesn’t make sense to completely surround ourselves with our competition. Shuck off the fear and reach out to readers. Who are the people who would buy your book? Time to make twitter followers, Facebook friends, and Goodreads friends with them. I always tell writers that the best ratio is 2 fellow authors for every 8 prospective book buyers. This is how to stand apart, take steps away from the competition and market to your fans and prospective book buyers.

WRITERS WANT TO KNOW HOW TO TAKE THIS FURTHER – Once an author strategically reaches out to prospective book buyers and creates fans and sales, something wonderful happens. It clicks. Fireworks go off. The light has come on for them. One small taste of success makes them hungry for more! They discover that this marketing thing DOES WORK and it doesn’t take all that much time, especially if it’s carefully targeted and efficiently implemented. There’s basic marketing and there’s advanced marketing. Taking an author’s marketing to the next level with cross marketing techniques and platform expansion skills becomes easy. Having reached this part of the success adventure, authors are starting to think like marketing people by revisiting their back list to build sales, creating promotions that other authors never think about, in venues other authors don’t use, and speaking to book buyer in places other authors never dreamed of. Taking it further really only take one thing … eliminating the very first WHY hurdle.

Write Brain.Left Brain

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Things that Scare Writers …

It’s October and the chant “Deadlines and Edits and Bills, OH MY!” can be heard ringing from the rafters of every writer and author I know. Even a few publishers are squawking as the harvest moon rises. Why do we get this way? And more importantly, how can we manage the dreaded forth quarter scary stuff? Here are 5 Tips to help writers and authors get through to the New Year.

NaNo Only if You Can

NaNoWriMo has been a fantastic phenomenon. Many writers find it a fantastic challenge, but for as many writing a new book or finishing a work in progress who find it a successful process, there are just as many who find it to be far less productive. My theory is that timing may be the issue. To participate in NaNo, the writer must commit all their time during the month of November to reaching a word count goal. Granted, writing 50,000 words in 30 days can be a great thing, but writing the RIGHT 50,000 words is what really matters. If you’re able to do NaNo – meaning if your life allows you to block off 30 days and nights for nothing but writing – by all means, go for it. But most writers and authors I know have many, many other responsibilities in their lives, They are mothers or caregivers, hold down full time jobs, take care of the house and cook meals and they have outside commitments to their community or church or clubs and friends.

Don’t get me wrong, NaNo can be a wonderful tool, but if this is your first time on the NaNo speeding train, I have a few suggestions. Before you sign on, take an inventory of your life. Determine what’s most important to you in the month of November and carefully evaluate the stress level you’ll be adding to your load. Stressed writing is never the best, but if after thinking it through you discover that you’re the kind of writer who thrives under tight, heavy deadlines, rock and roll with it. I’ll be looking for the NaNoWriMo logo on your social media and cheering you on!

Keep a Sharp Eye on Your Platforms

Platforms are the pumping, heated life blood for your book. Your website, twitter, Facebook and blog entries are how you tell the world – prospective book buyers, fans, literary agents and publishers – that you are writing a book. It’s how you get them excited about it.

This final quarter of the year is fraught challenges, the holidays, the changing weather, and that all-important self-imposed deadline. We’ve all done it … “I’m going to finish that book before New Year’s Day!” (Never mind that we might have decided to write that book LAST New Year’s Day, LOL.) It all adds up to pressure and ignoring your platforms to carve out more writing time is simply COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Your book may get finished, but no one will know about it. A disappearing act by any writer or author can set things back drastically.

Plan your platform activity time carefully. Twitter 2X every day for 10 minutes each morning and 10 minutes each afternoon. Facebook  once every day. Post a question or fact of the day that pertains to your book’s unique elements. Blog at most once every two weeks, and at least once every month.  Be sure to blog about your book – the story, subject and unique hooks within your book. Don’t blog about the process of writing, it gets boring and basically is nothing new. Your blog subjects should be interesting to your prospective book buyer and reader fans … not other authors. Update your Website at least once every month. These updates can be adding the newest reviews for your backlist, interesting subject explorations related to your work in progress, where you’ll be speaking or signing books. A great way to handle website updates is to embed your blog into your author website.  Every time your blog entries are made, your website is also updated. Cool, huh?

Keep your platforms alive and hopping so that readers, prospective book buyers and established fans will be excited and waiting for your next book. (Even if this is your first book, keep those platforms sparking!)

Take a Moment to Look Around

I see you there, sitting at your computer, wearing sweats and a pair of ugly fuzzy bunny slippers. Time to look around! Put on your shoes and go for a walk. Go out and do your grocery shopping. Take an hour to walk around the mall. JUST LOOK AROUND! Who knows? That old man strolling from his car to the dry cleaners just might be the basis for a great character. The colors and weather you see might play a critical role in your plot. Passing conversations may inspire dialog you didn’t expect. Go on. Get out of the house. Enjoy. It’s good for the writer’s soul, especially as we face this time of year.

Plan Your Holidays NOW

Oh the Holidays! How crazy can those get? Family, parties, gift giving, baking, cooking, entertaining – it all adds up to a stressful time of year for anyone, especially the writer working on a deadline. It’s still early enough to plan a low-stress holiday season. Take advantage of the lay away programs for your gift shopping. It gets the names on your gift-giving list checked off, keeps the gifts out of your space and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Do a little bit every week.

Talk with your friends and family now and find out what they’re planning. Will you be going to a party or ten? Will you be responsible for bringing a part of the menu? The beer? Flowers? Keep this simple and plan ahead.

Are you a holiday card sender? Writing holiday greetings isn’t exactly writing. I honestly know people who send out hundreds of holiday cards every year, each with a sweet personal note in them. If you’re like that, get those cards early, write 10 of them every week then set them aside. This way you’ll have them all done before it’s time to drop them into the mailbox.

Above all, remember to take in and cherish the holidays. They only come once a year and we deserve a little frivolity and joy.

Sleep

Yes, sleep. If you’re like me, sleep is that elusive thing that everyone else seems to enjoy. My mind spins with what has to be done, what isn’t done yet, what I want to do and how much I don’t want to fail by not finishing something … especially my book.

There are tricks for getting sleep. Drink chamomile tea instead of coffee after 7 p.m. Avoid stimulation like exercise, computer games or reading that wonderful horror book beside the bed. Do Yoga. Relax and breathe. Yeah, right, like any of those actually work. The only real advice I can give is this … when I honestly feel that I’ve been productive that day, I can actually sleep. Sleep is replenishing. It’s healing and healthy. Anything that works for you to make sure you get the rest you need is a good thing. And remember, real, deep sleep brings fantastic dreams that can easily find their way into your book. Nothing is more important than creative ideas, right? So why risk giving up 1/3 of your creative life to stress and fretting over everything that needs to be done? Get your fair share of dreams!

There you go, 5 Tips to help writers or authors get through this scary, stressful final quarter of the year. Happy writing!

Write Brain.Left Brain

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True Marketing Power for Authors: Test Your Cross Markets for Effectiveness!

Evaluate 1

EVALUATE, EVALUATE, EVALUATE

How do you know a Cross Marketing effort is working for you? Aside from the obvious – growing book sales – there are several ways to test your efforts for effectiveness. Here are seven tried and true tools and tips for testing your Cross Marketing efforts. Sometimes one works better than another in a particular venue or with a particular target, sometimes a few of these strategies can work hand in hand for best results. Some may simply just work great for you but not at all for another author. The trick is to know and understand all seven testing strategies, make them yours and use them well.

TEST BY TIMING
I’ve mentioned before that it’s best to never reach out to more than two Cross Marketing targets at a time. There’s a very good reason for this, because the whole time you’re reaching out to new and unique markets to build a larger fan base and grow book sales, you’re must also be doing your standard marketing – social networking, speaking, book-signings, reaching out to genre book clubs and approaching genre blogs for reviews and interviews. Your Cross Marketing efforts are those magical steps in places and toward targets that your competition is not taking. It’s vital to make sure you have time to do everything … and that includes writing your next book! I strongly suggest the Test by Timing strategy. This is easy, it requires that you approach and market to ONE of your Cross Markets for three-four solid months before adding another Cross Market. With this strategy you choose carefully. If, for example, scuba diving is an element within your manuscript and you go after scuba diving online venues, you will move through those prospects until you find the one willing to work with you, one with a large web presence and following as well as a very active business. Ride with the program you and the business or blog owner have created, never drop the ball or forget to send your content for columns or articles, never forget to respond to people commenting. Three or four months later, take a serious look at your sales. Have they gone up? Can you see how it could directly relate to your efforts at the scuba websites and blogs? Or have the sales numbers stayed the same? In that case it’s time to make a choice – give it another three to four months, or move on. If sales are rising and you’ve gotten a good grip on how this works, attempt a new relationship with a second target for your Cross Marketing and roll with both. ALWAYS watch your sales numbers and make sure your efforts are creating results. If sales go down, back up and punt. Are you spending too much time on the Cross Markets? Are you forgetting to do your normal social network marketing? Have you forgotten to keep things active and alive at your own book blog and website? Testing by Timing is a strategy that gives every Cross Marketing effort its full attention before adding another. If this is all done right, it will become a system for you that can be both easy and fun … after all, what in the world is more fun that selling more books and gaining more fans?

CONTROL ACTIVITIES
This seems simple but it isn’t.  The same twenty-four hours exist in each day for everyone on the planet, so careful scheduling and time management is crucial. Some authors find so much success with Cross Marketing (one, selling a full 7,000 more books than normal!) that they go a little nuts. They add too many more of those Cross Markets and learn that:

  • They have no time to write
  • They have no time to do a good job with all the different markets
  • They are pulled in too many directions and literally forget which target they’re talking to
  • Overworked people get sloppy and the target they’re trying to interest can feel that

Don’t get greedy! Let each Cross Market find its own level. Some may do really well for a while and fall off because just about everyone in that Cross Market through that particular venue has bought your book whose going to buy your book. Add a Cross Market only when you know you can handle the added efforts, and only when you are ready to spread your wings further. Give each venue your all,  know when to step away and know when to up your activity.

CONTESTS
This one is easy! If you’re book is about, for example, organizing, once each month or two, at the end of your column, ask the readers to submit a before and after picture of an organized drawer or closet and the winner will receive a free book from you and a free tape measure from the business you’re cross marketing through. If your book is about scuba diving, run a contest at the scuba diving website for a brief story about the reader’s diving experience and the winner receives a free book from you and something small from the scuba business. If your fiction is historical, ask the host website readers to tell you something that happened somewhere else in the world during the same time frame in your book, and the most interesting piece of information wins a free book and … well, you get the point. These contests work on several levels. The number of responses tell you how many people are actually reading your column or articles, and the responses give you an opportunity to directly connect with the prospective book buyers. No response after two or three tries tells the whole story … time to move to another Cross Market and another venue.

CODE WORDS OR COMMENTS
Use a few code words in your article that should lead the readers of your articles or columns respond. For example, if your book has dogs in it and your Cross Market is dog lovers, in your article at the chosen venue (dog care blogs or doggie daycare websites) you may want to use code words that correspond somehow to the title of your book – something like “Dogs sense coming bad weather”. At the end of your article, ask the reader’s how dogs sense coming weather. The responses can range from technical, to playful or ridiculous, but they all constitute a response, and that means people are reading your articles and want to interact with you. NOTE: It is ALWAYS more effective to close any article, column or blog entry with this kind of open-ended question to encourage response.

JOURNALING
To do this correctly and give your Cross Markets a fair three to four months to prove success or failure, make sure to keep a journal of several things:

  • The topic of your blog, article of column each month on each specific target venue
  • The number of responses received with each topic at each venue
  • The activity at your own book platform website immediately after each entry at a venue
  • Any related changes to your Amazon ranking after each entry at each venue
  • The number of total sales at the end of each month

These journal entries will tell you the whole story about how your Cross Marketing efforts are doing. Over time, you will be able to clearly see which venues are working and which ones are not. This gives you the information needed to do a few things:

  • Tweak your efforts to create better response
  • Make a good decision as to whether to leave that venue and move on to a different Cross Market target
  • Or stay the course and add an additional venue to the mix

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
So many authors love the “idea” of Cross Marketing and they really want to do it well, but the truth of the matter is that many drop the ball, get bored, or simply don’t care to put in the effort. Be honest with yourself when analyzing your Cross Market efforts. Did you really approach the right Cross Market target venues? Did you faithfully do your articles on time and with strong, creative content? Or did you take every short cut you could imagine? If a Cross Marketing approach doesn’t work you need to ask yourself if you really tried, or if it just may be the wrong venue for that target. Sometimes the problem isn’t the strategy or target … it’s us. Be honest. You’d never write a book you weren’t interested in writing, so never approach or attempt Cross Marketing to a target you aren’t interested in.

AVOID THE “FUN” TRAP
Oh man, sometimes Cross Marketing is so much fun! The host venue loves you and they think you and your content are a great addition to their website. They are always in touch with you and friendly with you and even come up with great ideas for you to use in your blogs, articles or columns. You are having a blast! But … if you’ve kept a journal and watched your book sales, you may discover that sales are staying the same and not moving up at all. The whole point of Cross Marketing isn’t to make a whole batch of new friends, it’s to sell more books, so it may be time to make some hard decisions. Is it time to step away and try a different venue or Cross Market target? Is it time to ask the venue to permit you to start featuring the cover of your book at the TOP of your article instead of just a tag line with a buy link? If they really like you and want you to keep writing content for them, they might be perfectly happy to let you directly promote your book. They may even give you an ad space for your book on their website. This has to be a Win/Win situation and they understand that so you need to keep an eye on your sales and know when to ask for more from the venue … or say farewell.

Questions? Post them and I’ll be happy to answer.

Next week we’ll be talking about HOW you can keep your Cross Markets momentum alive and exciting. See you then!

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True Marketing Power for Authors: Making Friends with New Markets

Now that you’ve explored your manuscript and target book buyer audience beyond the norm … now that you’ve excavated new directions for your Cross Marketing efforts … now that you’ve determined 20 new targets and all new venues to approach … it’s time to put the magic into play. But how does an author reach out and tenderly cultivate these new markets?

The primary keys to approaching new Cross Marketing venues are patience and careful steps. Unlike the direct marketing efforts for your book – like mystery or romance readers where you locate the mystery or romance fan base and plow in with a 50 piece brass band – you must move into these cross markets with a more subtle string quartet that builds into a crescendo.

INTRODUCE YOURSELF

In your research you’ve determined 20 different directions to go with your Cross Marketing. For example, if your story is about a scuba diver who uncovers a mystery, you’ve decided that scuba diving enthusiasts, scuba diving stores, scuba diving schools, scuba diving groups and travel agencies would be strong directions. Whether this list of cross markets are live or online doesn’t really matter, all that matters is that the elements in your book fit well with your list. Now, go and introduce yourself. Join Yahoo groups that focus on diving and say hello. DO NOT OPEN WITH “Hey I wrote a book!” Instead just join in. See how the groups works, what they do and what they talk about. Be subtle and even though you’re not talking about your book, your email will always have the title of your book and the buy link at the bottom. This is a subject you’re already interested in, so it won’t be hard to just become part of this group. Gather nuggets of scuba information and expertise from the group’s members and remember to pipe in when you have something to say.

BE INVOLVED

Too many authors who attempt this Cross Marketing approach are looking for speedy results. They break rule number one and start pushing their book or talking about their book and end up being ignored or worse yet, ousted from the group. Patience is vital. Don’t forget, you’ve entered an arena where buying books isn’t the primary objective to the members. You need to make friends and make them feel safe with you. If you’re writing another book that includes the subject, there’s nothing wrong with, after a little trust has been established, telling the group members that your next book is also about scuba diving and you’re seeking their expertise or suggestions for locations or equipment information. You’ll be amazed how many people want to help a friend! They’ll send you photos and tons of information because not only do they like you, but they get to tell you about the thing they love. Oh, and you’ll also be surprised how many of them suddenly ask about your book and end up buying it, reading it and talking about it to their other friends!

MAKE REASONABLE OFFERINGS

Let’s talk about Cross Marketing to businesses. This works especially well for online businesses. These companies, large and small, have wonderful, active websites and blogs and you want to get involved in a way that helps sell your book but doesn’t compete with their corporate or business message. Again, you can’t hard sell and asking them to purchase an ad on their website for your book right off the bat may result in a very negative response. Be sure to make reasonable offerings. Put together a logical, simple proposal specially designed for each business. It may include guest blogging where you talk about diving, locations or your experiences. It may involve an “Info Dive of the Month”  article where each month you write something interesting related to a category of equipment they sell (or in the case of travel agents, the locations they’re featuring). It may involve something small and silly, like the funny things that can happen while diving, or the amazing things one might see while diving. For these businesses, you need to make sure you’re adding value to their website, their product and their customers, that way they have no issues at all if you feature your book cover and buy link at the bottom of every blog, article or tidbit. It’s the classic win/win. ONE WARNING: if you’re doing an article for one business website, you can’t do articles for another business. For the other business you’ll need to come up with something unique to their company. Create a list of 20 or 30 ideas and spread them around with your proposals. That way if one isn’t interested in the “Info Dive of the Month” but they’re interested in your involvement, you can propose something different and hold the original idea for a different business.

BE CONSISTENT

If you tell a business or group that you will do something, do it. I totally understand that an author’s life can be complex and busy. We have family responsibilities, dirty dishes, deadlines and our own muses to deal with, BUT if you’ve made a commitment to Cross Marketing, whether it’s as involvement with a group or to get the “Info Dive of the Month” article to a business website, be sure to do it. Nothing destroys faith in a person more than dropping the ball. To control your activities, I suggest you only work with three or four Cross Marketing targets at a time – one scuba Yahoo group, one diving gear online business and one travel agency. When you discover that one of these Cross Markets isn’t working for you or gaining book sales after a few months, exit and move on with a replacement. This way you’ll never get overloaded and you can always be consistent.

YOUR BOOK IS THE UNDERLINE, NOT THE STATEMENT

Cross Marketing is not marketing the way most authors understand marketing. It isn’t fireworks and loud speakers and it isn’t a quick solution to a problem. Some authors have perfected Cross Marketing by keeping in mind that all of their activity requires putting the hard sell on the back burner. Cross Marketing is about making new friends, developing a new market for your book and being very subtle about it. Give all your Cross Marketing efforts at least three months before seriously analyzing results. And once you’ve mastered a great cross market, don’t stop there! If you found that scuba diving bloggers are a fantastic source of book buyers, reach out to them all. Just remember to make you content unique to that blog and never repeat. If you discover that only one travel agency is working for you and all your efforts to make things happen with other travel agencies fails, stick with what’s working. You know how much you can market … and you know how much you want your book sales to grow. Plan well and never use hard sell tactics with a cross market.

FOLLOW UP

Wow, you’re selling books like crazy through that online scuba supply website. You are writing great articles every month and being subtle with your book and you’re a happy camper! Until, one day, six months into it, the business contacts you and informs you that they no longer wish to sponsor your articles. What happened? No follow up. You need to have a contact each and every month with the business to make sure they’re pleased with what you’re doing. Ask them if they’d like to see something else, or would like you to focus an article on a specific topic. Stay in touch to assure that your Cross Marketing activities are really a win/win situation for both you and the business. Otherwise it can all blow up in your face. Always follow up and always remember to thank them. It’s just good business and good manners.

KNOW WHEN TO STEP AWAY

Earlier I mention that it’s wise to give a cross market at least three months to show results, but I really would like to see a six month activity with business websites. Not only does it take that long to hook deeply into that company’s customer base, but it serves the seasonal cycles of the business. It also gives you a fair amount of time to watch your sales and determine if the effort you’re putting into Cross Marketing is giving you the results you want. With groups, it should only take a few weeks to see if the people there will serve your Cross Marketing goals. A quick and friendly exit is always best. There are hundreds of groups, live and online, out there and sticking with one may be foolish. In the end, you should at all times have six streams of Cross Marketing working for you – two different business websites with their own unique content, one guest blogging opportunity per month, and three active online groups. If any of these are not giving you the results you want, step away and move on to the next.

Always remember, Cross Marketing is not something every author does and that’s a super good thing! You’ll be working in a landscape free of competition and fertile with new book buyers. Cross Markets are not for hard sell tactics, your book’s story or subject must relate to the Cross Market, your efforts must be planned, managed and well connected, and most of all, if it’s not working, there are 20 other directions to go on your list.

Cross Marketing isn’t easy. But think about it, does the easy way ever really work? Cross marketing is logical, simple in its approach and when well done, the results can be extraordinary. Go ahead, try it. You’re up for the challenge. After all, you’re amazing! You already wrote a book!Questions? Post them and I’ll be happy to answer. Next week we’ll be talking about HOW you can test your Cross Markets for effectiveness. See you then!

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

“Finding Author Success” available in print and ebook on Amazon, B&N, Apple and Sony!


What happened at the Conference: “Finding Author Success” SCORES!

Last weekend I was at the Pennwriters Conference. The last time I went to this particular writer’s conference, things were quite different. I was one of a few hundred writers desperately hoping to have a good face-to-face meeting with a literary agent so I could pitch my book. The stress level was high and I was, naturally, a nervous wreck. I got through it but what I learned there reshaped my entire idea of being an author forever. That was eight years ago, it was a good experience and I did get a request for a full manuscript, but my oh my, how the industry has changed since then.

This time I was at the conference to speak, teach workshops and sign books.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you wonder what you’re doing with your life and if it matters to anyone? With the shifts in the publishing industry, of course I continued to write and after several years, finally found publication. But something else happened. The deeper I got into the true dynamics of creating success for myself, I discovered that many other authors were struggling with the same problem. With nearly all of the marketing, promotion and publicity required to make our books successful sellers on our own shoulders these days, I realized that I had something unique and powerful to offer. I have more than two decades of experience in all those elusive conundrums that baffle authors – marketing, promotions and publicity – it was suddenly obvious that I had a lot of the answers. It all began by answering authors questions on twitter about how to market and grew into Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power within your Manuscript. It’s gone even further since the book was released last November.

Yes, I’ve had two novels published, but this time the conference for me was all about author sales success and what it takes to attain it. Armed with copies of Finding Author Success I taught a pre-conference workshop on Building a Book Business Plan. I then did a three hour workshop covering the 10 Tools for Author Success. I was asked to do a read and critique session with literary agent Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and I sat and signed books in the hospitality suite. Sounds like lots of fun and great exposure and one would think I’d be thrilled with how far I’d come since the last Pennwriters Conference I attended … but it goes much deeper than that.

This was a wonderful experience for reasons that have nothing to do with being asked to speak in cities like Boston, Chicago, New York and all around my own state of Pennsylvania. It had to do with something even more exciting! Success … for several of the authors I chatted with, taught in the workshops or simply met in the halls.

Part of both the Book Business Plan workshop and the 10 Tools for Author Success lecture has to do with helping the authors attending to polish, tighten and add power to their 25 word core pitch. What I feared would be boring to them, turned out to be magic and five of them, using the pitch they’d perfected during the classes (and one simply through a brief conversation at breakfast) all managed to have wonderful results with the agents … and they all tracked me down to let me know that the agent they’d pitch had requested full manuscripts! I felt like a proud momma! I felt like dancing in the streets for them! And … I finally knew that what I’m doing really does make a difference.

I’m not one for shouting from the rooftops but my publisher encouraged me to do a little horn tooting about this. Finding Author Success is truly a book that helps authors in many ways, from getting an agent or publisher’s attention to letting the whole world know they have a book for sale.

Another thing that came from the conference was the fact that as much as I love writing fiction and will continue to do so, there’s much more on the horizon for me as an Author Success Coach. I can help authors find the sales success they need by taking them deeper into the simple but unique areas of marketing most authors never explore. I’m starting another book for Author Success that will focus on the power and push of serious cross marketing that can take an author’s book sales from mediocre to the stars.

Now all I have to do is write it.

Next week we’ll return to the True Marketing Power for Authors series and we will be talking about seriously dissecting your own manuscript to find even more new prospective readers. See you then!

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

“Finding Author Success” available in print and ebook on Amazon, B&N, Apple and Sony!