Tag Archives: Author

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR AUTHOR MARKETING SANITY

nerdOkay, I’m one of those strange people who loves marketing but hey, it wasn’t always so. When I started I was an intern at an advertising agency, then I was a writer at a radio station, then television, then something happened … I discovered that marketing is everywhere and applies to everything! I used smart marketing to job shop, to bring in customers, to be noticed, hell, even to get a date! Like most people, I didn’t actually love eating the spinach until I realized how much it could do for me.

Marketing authors with books to sell are in the same boat. They know they have to market their books, they just don’t exactly know how. Excuses abound for avoiding this task, but the truth is that until they actually SEE great results, they will continue to hate marketing. It’s time to back up and punt, regroup, and make a plan that will help you keep your sanity on the way to making some money at this author life.

beehiveTAKE A BREAK – You’re doing so much, buzzing like a beehive, trying to get as many sales as possible and unfortunately finding the results unsatisfying. It’s time to take a break and rethink your strategies. I’m not talking about a year long break, or even a month long break, I’m talking about taking a week away from EVERYTHING related to writing, marketing, and books in general. Lift your eyes and look around. There’s a whole word spinning wildly and marketing its way into everyone’s lives. How are they doing that?

Taking a break from the marketing activities you’ve become bitterly mindless about is a great start for rejuvenating your mind. Observe all the marketing around you, coming into your email box, texted on your cell phone, blazing across the television screen, over the radio, and along the roads you drive. This marketing thing is alive and well and not going away. There’s no reason you, a person who has written a great book (or 10), can’t be successful at marketing. Exploring marketing strategies and promotions for products that are NOT books can open a huge avenue of creative thinking. Ideas are everywhere, so maybe that 99 cent book promo or that silly genre lovers promotion aren’t the only way to go? Yep, they’re not, and taking a break is a sure way to help you recognize that it isn’t your efforts that are failing … it’s the promotional vehicles and concepts you’ve used that are failing you.

Take a break, take a deep breath, observe the marketing world around you, and let your mind become as creative as the day you imagined writing a book.

looking over shoulderSTOP LOOKING OVER YOUR SHOULDER – Authors have a bad habit of keeping an eye on other authors’ marketing activities and forgetting the person who will actually purchase their book. Surrounding yourself with other authors creates a kind of language of its own, I call it AuthorSpeak. Every time we see a promotion for a book it seems to sound the same. We think the same, we pitch the same, WE ALL TALK THE SAME! I recently surveyed book buyers and discovered that most, even avid genre lovers, find it frustrating how almost every blurb, pitch, and promotion is similar. This makes it hard for readers to make a choice.

Often it’s a really good idea to be different. Have a different kind of book cover, make your blurb different from anyone else’s, approach your prospective book buyer in a different way, different place, with a different attitude.

Over your shoulder all the other authors are still doing the same things. Publishers insist that books sell better with characters on the covers, other authors insist that you can only write a blurb one way. New authors gobble this up because they’re all looking for short cuts and nothing is easier than following a formula. However, never forget that those formulas get old, and the people these formulas are suppose to attract, get bored. A glance over your shoulder shows that most authors balance their desire for success and their desire to get it easily. It’s a compromise. There are no short cuts, and sometimes going rogue is the most creative way to gain visibility. Leave those other authors behind and make your own creative marketing path. It is a road of trial and error, but it’s oh so much more fun, especially when it shows itself in your bottom line.

crowdSTEP AWAY FROM THE NOISE – Have you ever tried to have a conversation in a noisy restaurant? No one can hear what the other person is saying; conversation dissolves into grins and nods. Not an effective result if the intended conversation was meant to help you gain more book sales.

This is exactly how it is when you stick so closely with other authors to promote your book. Groups of authors, lumping together to sell books and promote future books make a whole lot of noise. The book buyer begins to feel like they’ve stumbled into a carnie, complete with a bearded lady, dancing horses, and a clown car loaded with even more noisy authors. Don’t get me wrong, these events are a lot of fun. We get to hang out with all our author friends, we get to share cool marketing ideas, and we get to stand with solidarity against this marketing thing. Yep, that’ll do it. The book buyers will go crazy for us! We’ll all sell a million books!

Not.

What you and your author friends have actually created is a small pond with a whole lot of noisy fishermen hoping for a great catch. Fifty authors might talk to hundreds of book buyers at that event, but all fifty authors are not going to make a sale. No one author will make all the sales. These fishing trips always result in purchasing fish at the local market because no one ever catches enough to cook for dinner.

Stepping away from the noise means using marketing in a more creative way. Instead of surrounding yourself with your competition (other authors), think of other ways and places to actually connect with your prospective book buyer. Is your book a historical fiction? Think about holding a book signing at an antique collectors’ event. Hundreds of people might walk through but without so much book competition, you can very possibly sell fifty books! You surprised the book buyer in a unique place, and you’ve been careful to choose a place loaded with people who like the events, era, and unique elements inside your story. If you thought a book event with other authors was fun, wait until you do something like this and sell so many books in a single afternoon. Now that’s fun!

talking 1TALK ABOUT THE RIGHT THINGS – Earlier I talked about something I call AuthorSpeak. It’s a kind of code, a system of short cuts, formulas, and tools that when used so much, become ineffective. If everyone is giving away a free book, free books loose their value and the promotion looses its effectiveness. After all, if it was free, how good can it be, right? Besides, if everyone is doing the same thing, it no longer has power. And if everyone is doing that same thing to the same genre lovers groups, it falls on numb ears.

It’s time to say something different and say it in different places and ways. More important than that, it’s time to get more specific. Cater to your prospective book buyer’s interests. In essence, it’s time to say what THEY want to hear, not what you want to tell them.

A perfect example of this relates to the example above at the antique collectors’ event. Often authors fall into the trap of thinking that only book buyers buy books, but who are book buyers? Book buyers are people who do a million other things aside from just buying books. They shop at many places besides book stores, and spend a lot of time online at places that are not book seller websites. Why do authors limit themselves so much when marketing? Why not toss out a much wider net to gain book sales?

Don’t look over your shoulder. Those other authors will have a mess of reasons why you should stick with the program and ignore your need to expand your creative marketing agenda. Going rogue takes guts and you can do this. Center all your marketing and promotional strategies on the things your prospective buyer loves that are already in your book.

If your murder mystery begins with a body found in a veggie garden, focus on gardeners, guest blog on gardening and veggie foodie blogs, hold book signings at farmer’s markets, focus your blogs on veggie recipes with a murderous twist. USE THAT AMAZING CREATIVE IMAGINATION OF YOURS. The possibilities are endless. You won’t see any of your author friends there because they’re all doing their noisy lumped together thing. Do be sure to keep in touch with them though, after you make your bank deposit, that is.

What kind of really creative ideas can you come up with for the unique elements inside your book? There are a lot of book buyers out there who are waiting to hear from you.

Deborah Riley-Magnus, The Author Success Coach

Write Brain/Left Brain: Bridging the Gap between Creative Writer and Marketing Author

Write Brain.Left Brain


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?

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

 


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

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

 

 


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!

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

“Finding AuthorSuccess” available in print and ebook onAmazon, B&N, Appleand Sony!


True Marketing Power for Authors: Looking in a NEW Direction

I just returned from five days at the Pennwriters Conference where I taught a whole section of my workshop on this subject, so this will be fun and creative!

Where do you reach your readers? Most authors (as I’ve mentioned before) appear in the same places other authors do and make the same approaches they make – heavily targeting their genre. Naturally, you should make yourself and your book visible at genre reading groups live and online, as well as with as many blogs as you can find that focus on your genre … but your readers are many, many other places too.

In order to explain why this is necessary and why it works, here’s a little bit of information about marketing in general. It’s the RULE OF THREE. A prospective book buyer should see and/or hear your name or the name of your book at least three times and in at least three different places. Yes, you’ve contacted three genre book clubs and you’ve probably done a guest blog or promotional blog on at least three different genre-based blogs but those only count as one because not only are the same people seeing those blogs and are part of those book clubs and groups … but also remember, all the other authors writing in your genre are also present there so it’s sort of like walking into a crowd of shouting competitors. Be there, shout a little louder, but remember, it still only counts as one of your important three exposures.

So where do you find those other two (and preferably more) important exposures?

There are ways!

  • Dig deeper into your specific book for the unique hooks and elements inside your story
  • Dig deeper into the demographic of your genre reader
  • Dig deeper into your own neighborhood

Let’s take these cool directions and carefully scrutinize them.

UNIQUE HOOKS AND ELEMENTS INSIDE YOUR STORY

Let’s say you’ve written a romance with an historical twist. You may have lighthouses as a focus of your story, or it may take place during the Revolutionary War or perhaps the story unfolds in the 1960’s. In addition to approaching romance readers where everyone else approaches them, you may want to look into lighthouse bloggers or blogs and groups that raise funds to preserve and restore lighthouses. There are hundreds of online groups who target Revolutionary War enthusiasts, antique collectors from the era or travelers who love visiting the battle locations. They too have blogs and are involved in groups specific to their interests. If your book is historic in the more recent years, like the 50’s 60’s or 70’s, again there are groups, bloggers and websites that focus solely on that nostalgic interest.

How do you approach these bloggers and groups? Easy. You simply contact the bloggers, tell them about your book and the research you put into it within their specific interest and ask if they’d be willing to let you guest blog. It’s that simple. When you locate groups on Yahoo groups that focus on this specific hook in your book, you simply join the group. There you would participate in the conversations, share what you know of the historic era and make friends … but one thing you shouldn’t do is simply post again and again that you have a book to sell. This is MARKETING, which is all about creating awareness about your book. Marketing is not promotion and it’s not hard sell, it’s AWARENESS. So go on and join, be part of the community and contribute, make friends and … make sure that your email tag ALWAYS has the title of your book, a brief 25 word blurb about it and the buy link. Oh, and remember, if this is a specific subject you love to write about, you’ve just tapped into a wealth of research information!

Unique hooks exist in every book, no matter the genre. All you have to do is find them and be aware of them so that you can effectively use them to extend your audience. Maybe your book is a murder mystery where the detective has a coffee addiction, or loves expensive cigars, or is crazy about ballroom dancing. As long as these unique elements are a strong part of your manuscript, you can seek out coffee lovers, cigar aficionados and ballroom dancing enthusiasts because basically, your book will interest them.

DEEPER INTO THE DEMOGRAPHIC OF YOUR READERS

The demographic is the specific identifying factors about a targeted group. What is the primary demographic of your book? Women? Men? Children? Highly professional people? Middle class people? Are they 25? Over 50? Between 10 and 15?

All these specifics for your demographic are important and remember, what you assume to be your demographic isn’t necessarily true. For example, more woman over 50 read Young Adult books than young adults. Do a little research before assuming anything about your target reader demographic.

Is your book a romance? Military Mystery? Cozy Mystery? Christian? Erotica? Make a list of everything you know your book to be then think hard about who the demographic really is.

Now … where are those demographics? If you’re promoting your YA specifically to young adults and through YA blogs, bloggers and reviewers, you may want to spread your visibility further. You may want to query reviewers and bloggers who focus on older women no matter the subject. Remember, we’re not talking about the places other authors are marketing. If you’re pushing your military mystery toward men, you may want to think deeper and grab some exposure with groups of military wives or military enthusiasts who have blogs that focus on weapons or strategies with commentary. If your Christian romance is targeted to only Christian women you are limiting yourself, promote the book to women in general within woman groups that have some connection with your unique hooks.

If your target is women, never forget … we’re everywhere. We shop in grocery stores, go to the cleaner’s, buy shoes, love cosmetics and jewelry. Men too are all over the place based on their interests. There is no reason why an author writing fiction or non-fiction shouldn’t take this expanded demographic approach and use their unique hooks to connect with much broader target groups. Write to the targeted blogger or website and simply tell them about your book, then ask them if you can write a guest blog or monthly column (if it’s a website) that will subtly promote your book with a picture of the cover and the link. You will be amazed how many of these bloggers and website owners will respond positively. This helps them too! It regularly updates their blog or website, and it brings more activity to their business or blog content. It’s a win/win.

IN YOUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD

Whatever your book is about, whatever the genre and whatever the specific hooks, you can easily find local groups starving for an interesting topic for their next meeting.

There are local gardening clubs, local women’s clubs, knitting, quilting, and bird lovers clubs. There are local Rotary Clubs, nursing and dental assistant groups, church, community and city women’s and men’s auxiliary clubs. There are horse racing clubs, antique lovers clubs and music lovers clubs. These groups are everywhere, meeting someplace every single night of the week and all within five miles of your house. If you haven’t started speaking yet about your book, it’s time to take the leap. You approach these groups the same way you do everything as a writer … you query. Introduce yourself, tell them you are a local author, tell them about your book and make sure to touch on the unique part of your story that will connect with the group’s membership. Then you simply ask if you can speak at one of their meetings. Offer them a book signing after the speech. Most of these groups are bored to tears with the same kinds of meetings and you might just be the speaker they’re looking for. Be creative with your search, use your unique hooks and story elements to spice up your query, and remember to take into consideration your broad demographic target.

Oh, and one other thing about these approaches … I will warn you … it’s very unlikely you’ll find even one other author trying to get your prospective book buyer’s attention or money. You’ll have these audiences all to yourself!Next week we’ll 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!


Authors! Three Tips for Keeping Your Marketing Momentum

How do you keep the MARKETING love alive? We authors have a massive load on our shoulders! We have to work to pay the bills, take care of family, socialize occasionally with friends, write books and … Dum dum daaaaaa … promote and market them too. It’s a lot to ask of anyone, but asking an author who is basically creative to suddenly become an analytical and business-like person is sort of like asking a dog to be a cat two days a week.

Guess what? We have to do it anyway.

I’m sure you’ve all faced the dilemma of starting some kind of marketing strategy for your book and discovered that after some time (a few days or weeks or months) that fantastic strategy has sort of fizzled out. What’s an author to do? We don’t want to start from scratch but we can’t just stop marketing and promoting or demand for our next book will be next to nothing!  Catch 22? Nope, it’s just time to put on our thinking caps again.

Creativity is creativity and if you look at marketing and promoting your books as part of the whole creative process – rather than look to what other authors have done and try to imitate that for success (i.e. giveaways, FB ads, book marks and imprinted mugs) – you are sure to find the perfect formula for success that works for you and your book.

The reason most “tried and true” marketing strategies fizzle out so quickly is that they are basically overused. The prospective book buyer has seen them a thousand times. The key to keeping your marketing push alive, well and hopping is to keep it moving like a good boxer with great footwork.

Here are three tips to reboot your marketing efforts that won’t take a ton of time or energy, just a little creativity.

TIP NUMBER ONE – FIND A NEW ROUTE

It’s the ugly truth – your book is in the same genre and tapping into the same market as a thousand other books. You do what the most successful authors are doing, at least you try, but it always falls flat quickly.

This is a simple study in looking the other way, or in this case, ANOTHER way. I’ve always found that if everyone is taking a particular freeway at a particular time, it’s easiest on my gas tank and my nerves to simply take a different freeway.  Apply that to your marketing and everything gets a whole new light.

For example, if all the authors are slamming away on the newest trick of the day … giveaways or contests or scavenger hunts … you need to look at doing something they are not doing. In fact, this works best if it’s something they never even thought about doing.

Consider creating a high visibility promotion that includes publicity: a walk for cancer by zombie book lovers (in costume of course), or blood drive where vampire authors donate blood and attempt to reach a goal of a certain number of donors in a limited time. This kind of publicity gets noticed and if you are the author who created it, it also has long term positive ramifications as you move ahead in your writing career.

Have you thought about doing an event at a nurses group or meeting of the local garden club? Trust me, nursing and gardening aren’t all these groups talk about or all they do. These people like to read too. If you offer to do a reading and Q&A at a meeting of the local women’s club, they might jump for joy. These organizations are always looking for interesting subjects and speakers for their meetings. And while every other author in your genre is pounding away, trying to give a way a free book on twitter, you’re signing a selling fifteen or twenty books at the Ladies Auxiliary meeting right in your home town.

Looking elsewhere is always a great way to keep your sales hopping. When you go back to the regular grind of twitter and facebook, you suddenly have some really fun and interesting experiences to talk about.

TIP NUMBER TWO – CHANGE THE ODDS

Ever been to Vegas? Even if you haven’t, you know the odds and what they mean. If Dan Brown writes a book, everyone buys it. He has all the odds in his favor, a big publisher, extraordinary talent, high visibility thanks to his wonderful marketing and publicity experts, and fans by the boat loads. How are we supposed to stand against all that?

Simple. Change the odds. For example, even if your book touches on similar subjects, has a similar story and similar characters, SOMETHING about your book is different and extremely unique. The only way to battle something as formidable as the Top Ten Best Sellers of the World is to find your hooks and make sure they’re sharp.

Is your hook the unique character traits? Use them. If your main character is a cigar expert, you need to tap into the cigar industry. If s/he is into vintage clothing or fine whiskey, there are two more audiences. The magic of changing the odds falls under the category of cross marketing. If you can cross market your book to music teachers or coffee lovers or the home building industry because your story and primary characters are connected with that subject, you are tapping into a new market.

Here’s the kicker, it’s not only a new market to connect with, it’s the same market Dan Brown is tapping into. He’s just doing it as the author of a few best selling books. You are stepping into that arena as the author of a book that fits the reader’s personal interest. You’re doing this without an expensive publicist or big publisher, you’re doing this as you. AND it really does change the odds because now you can sit at the same poker table with any author in the world. Stepping into this cross marketing arena also feels and looks different than how all the other authors are trying to market, so it’s a great freshener for your strategies.

TIP NUMBER THREE – LOOK OUTSIDE

When you want to do some marketing, where do you look? At other authors, of course. It’s a great place to look, right?

Wrong.

Yes, other authors are doing what authors do and I’m not telling you to stop doing the tried and true marketing techniques. I’m simply suggesting that you look outside the publishing world for interesting and powerful ideas.

Did you notice a slogan on the passing exterminator’s van that caught your fancy? A billboard that used just the right push for the product? A radio or television campaign that you can’t forget. Marketing and promotion is going on all around us and there are some fantastic approaches to the market just outside the publishing world. Don’t have narrow vision, lift your head and look around.

If you take a week and keep a small note pad at your side, you will find yourself observing and jotting down cool ideas from all kinds of products and services. These concepts impressed and intrigued you. They sparked your imagination and made you smile. All you have to do is think them through and see if one of those kinds of approaches will work for your book. Maybe you can’t do a teaser promotion on the radio like you heard for the new Tide with bleach … but you can do something similar with teasers in your blogs, on twitter or facebook. If the fun event to raise money  for your local zoo can’t exactly work for your book, perhaps there’s an element of that event that you can implement for your own marketing.

All I’m suggesting is that you can seriously impact your marketing approach if you just step away from the computer screen and look outside. Marketing is happening all around you! Get influenced by some of the best of our time.

So, there you go. Three tips for keeping your book marketing momentum alive and vibrant. Give them a try and let me know what you come up with!


What on Earth is “The Author Success Coach”?

Just what is an Author Success Coach? Well, as THE Author Success Coach (long story) I guess I can explain it. Maybe the journey to becoming The Author Success Coach will help a little.

See, many, many moons ago – too many to count – I spent a majority of my days and many long nights in the world of advertising, marketing and public relations. Cool, huh? Not really and not always. It’s a very unique world that prides itself in the many and varied techniques for cutting throats and piercing backs with nice long knives. After twenty-odd years of enjoying the creative part of that universe but dodging blades, I called it quits. Well, I thought I was calling it quits, I had no clue where things were about to go.

I chose other kinds of knives and became a chef – yes, a prepping, cooking, menu planning machine. I worked evenings and nights and weekends and although it was the hardest physical job I ever did, I adored every minute of it. What did I like most? Besides the creative flavor development and beautiful plating elements, I confess I liked the promotional parts of it. I loved being part of the ACF (American Culinary Federation) helping with marketing and PR for events at the various restaurants or country clubs or banquet facilities where I worked. I loved creating menus and food experiences for special promotions or clients. By the end of that career, I had become an executive chef and was still … you guessed it … promoting, marketing and actively doing publicity. It seemed my whole life was about writing and creating campaigns.

Regretfully I had to leave the culinary industry to save my back. Literally. It wasn’t getting stabbed in the back I worried about, now heavy three gallon stock pots were trying to kill me. I’d always been a writer, for radio and television advertising, for print and media, for the press and articles … and for that book I secretly hoped I could write. So many fragments of novels I’d begun here and there started to come together and finally I began the real focus of a writer/author. I gained agent representation (another really long story) and finally publication for an urban fantasy series. Cold in California comes out June 15.

Now, (and by this point, you’re probably thinking, “finally”) we can get to the point. What is The Author Success Coach?

The Author Success Coach is not a writing coach. I don’t work with writers on their manuscripts, I’m not an editor nor am I a plot strategist. I don’t provide writing prompts or tricks for overcoming writer’s block. If asked, of course I’ll try to help, but that’s certainly not my forte.  Trust me, for my fiction, I sought out a great mentor specific to the genre and suffered through all the shifts, changes and tweaks required to present a well written book for my agent search and publisher search. Like the professional kitchen, that was really hard work! Every author should do that. I believe it’s the real difference between a writer and an author.

So, back to the question. What is The Author Success Coach? Having written articles my whole life, blogging was a natural direction. Unknowingly building my platform took me onto twitter and facebook and I discovered the most amazing thing over the past few years. See, I really did have something to offer … some serious value-added information to pass on to other writers and authors. And it all had to do with that career I tried to escape so long ago!

THE INDUSTRY

Because of the shifts in the publishing industry (which may not stop quaking for many years to come), authors desperately need to understand all the elements of marketing, publicity and promotions. Oh! Oh! I know how to do that! It became the focus of my blogs, it grew into a variety of wonderful tools and workshops which I’ve been teaching live and online. This information became so important and sought out … it became its own book!

So, basically what happened is that the platform created the book. Seems a little backward, since I approached the whole social networking world to promote my fiction work. Because of all this I’ve now become a non-fiction author too.

The Author Success Coach: Strategies for Author Success in a Turbulent Publishing Landscape is a book based on my various online and live workshops. It covers everything from creating an effective Book Business Plan, to developing multi-level promotional strategies. It’s a book designed to help authors get past the terror of having to market their own book … and it will be out in September, 2011.

Any questions?  Anything you’d like me to add to the book?

In the meantime, these are the online workshops I’ll be teaching over the next few months:

Upcoming Online Workshops at SavvyAuthors http://www.savvyauthors.com

Creating and Effective Book Business Plan, March 21 – 25, 2011

Platforms Building, One Plank at a Time, March 28 – April 22

Geisha Marketing for Authors, May 23 – 27

Tantric Publicity for Authors, June 13 – 17

I’ll also be speaking live at the Orange County California Writers Club on Saturday, March 12 … and at the San Fernando Valley California Writers Club on Saturday April 16. For more information on either of these live presentations, please contact me at writerchef@sbcglobal.net.