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HOW WRITERS LEARN

SkiingHave you ever wondered about learning? How different people learn different ways? I recall, long (long) ago, when I was learning to ski, my boyfriend took me onto the snowy slopes and said, “Do this.” I couldn’t. It seemed I needed to learn differently. I wanted to know how my shins felt against the front of the boots, where my hands were supposed to be, what to do with my poles, and how to bend my knees. He couldn’t tech that way. We all learn differently.

baby Unless, of course, you’re a writer. I believe writers are made in the womb, rolling gently in fluid and imagining what comes next. Learning came to us when we first opened our eyes, first screamed our distaste for the harsh, cold world, first felt warmth, heard voices, dreamed. Writers start early, long before we learned to walk we learned to see what we want, how we want, and create a reality around everything we didn’t understand.

PeabodyAs toddlers, we learned to tell stories, well, okay, we learned to lie. The word “no” was essential to this process. We didn’t do it. We didn’t need to go to the potty. We didn’t want to eat those green mushy peas. A few years later, the lies became more elaborate. The dog broke the pretty figurine. The chocolate fell out of the drawer. Our sister ate the donuts. Our little brother smeared paint on the wall. Lying became a way of life, especially in the fifth grade when teacher requested that we write a story. Wow, suddenly this lying thing was a good thing, and if the fire caught, we wrote, and wrote, and are still writing.

typewriter 2The imagination is our playground. While other people balance their checkbooks and make grocery lists, we stroll the produce aisle and create a complete background story for the old woman wearing a royal purple coat and sniffing tomatoes. It just happens. We don’t mean to do it, but the lies keep building until Louise Schoonhoven, tomato lover and descendant of disgraced 15th century Dutch royalty, ends up accused of murder in your next book entitled Planting Tulips.

The general definition of lying is not telling the truth.  But for writers, it isn’t about being false or dishonest. It’s just how we were born. It’s how we learn to be better and better at our craft, telling untrue stories, in other words, writing fiction.

brain & blue bokeh abstract light background. Vector illustration / eps10This is learned behavior. Merriam-Webster defines learning as 1) the act or experience of one that learns. 2) knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study. And 3) modification of a behavioral tendency by experience (such as exposure to conditioning.) Wow, that’s a mouthful and most of it irritates us creative types. We don’t want to be reconditioned, we like ourselves just as we are. We don’t mind acquiring skills, but sometimes the training doesn’t stick. Does this mean easy learning is not in the cards for creative minds like ours?

Studies show that people need several levels if stimulus to actually learn anything. It all begins with desire. Do you want to learn what’s being taught? If so, you’re way ahead of the curve. In addition to desire for effective absorption of information, we need to hear, to see, and to interact with that information.

learningLook, we all take workshops all the time. Writing workshops, character development classes, plot development clinics, dialog improvement lessons, you name it, we’ve taken it. If it’s an online read-and-post-lesson workshop, it has a good chance of getting into our heads. But when trying to learn complicated things, we need a bit more … especially when looking into topics like MARKETING, PROMOTIONS, and PUBLICITY. We need to overcome the aversion to the subject, and learn quickly in order to see real sales results for those fabulous books we write.

I’ve been teaching workshops for over a decade, all those nasty topics we hate — marketing, promotions, and publicity. I’ve seen that retention of the techniques work best with as much interactions a possible, preferably when I’m speaking live. But how can we learn the hard stuff when the teacher can’t be standing right in front of us?

Easy. Seek out workshops that teach the way we learn. Workshops that take topics we fear and present them clearly and with audio, visual, and interactive elements that make it easier to remember. Below I’ve posted a workshop series I’m teaching at one of these powerful online locations, Short & Helpful Writers Workshops. I’m so excited to be part of this, seeing how they do it, knowing that more students would get what they need from my classes.

In the meantime, keep learning! Keep lying! Keep telling stories that move the readers! I’m here to help you create awareness and sales for those books.

Master AUTHOR MARKETING, presented the way we learn best … audio, visual, interactive! AUTHOR MARKETING FOR SUCCESS, 6 lessons, a year of coaching. Feb/March/April and Sept/Oct/Nov 2018. Online. Easy. Effective!  

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

 

 

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3 PASSIONATE STEPS TO AUTHOR MARKETING SUCCESS!

Marketing success is one of those things that seem so far out of reach for most authors, they’ve started to believe it doesn’t exist. Author marketing success isn’t an impossible conundrum. It’s a challenge that requires little more than seeing this curious, sometime confusing, and always powerful task with different eyes. Imagining marketing to be the difficult part of author existence will get you nowhere. It’s time to shake things up! It’s time for a little LOVE! 

LoveSTEP 1 – LOVE

Let’s imagine that the your book is a lovely woman seeking happiness and joy. She’s definitely strong enough to stand on her own, but she knows that she needs a partner—a special, caring, and supportive someone—to help her really become the blissful woman she always wanted to be. Your book needs sales, and although the story may be fantastic, without her lover—marketing—no one will ever know how wonderful she is! It’s time to call a truce and start loving the process that can get you to your well deserved happiness.

Stop thinking of marketing as the devil, out to eat all your time and energy and show little results. By opening yourself to the process, you will be able to see the right and wrong paths to marketing success.

The first wrong path is focusing so much of your marketing efforts on other authors, author Facebook groups, and author strategies for twitter. They all do the same thing and most often target their efforts toward each other. Other authors are NOT your customer. They’ll never get you to the best seller list. Yes, you love them and appreciate their support, but it’s time to step away from your competition and use marketing for the right audience … the people who love the unique elements inside your book.

Spread the LoveSTEP 2 – SPREAD THE LOVE

So…where are these people who will love the things inside your book. Yes, they are genre lovers, but do be careful. If you focus your marketing at romance, fantasy, horror, or historic genre lover groups on Facebook, be sure to take a moment to look at the other people in those groups. Yes, they are mostly other authors. Think about this carefully. If the genre groups members you’re trying to sell to are also being shouted at by a million other authors, what are your chances of getting a sale? It’s a small pond with a lot of fishermen.

To really spread the love, you need to find another pond, one where there are no other authors trying to catch your fish. This is actually simple. It requires only one thing…you must actually sit down and read your own book.

It’s funny how many authors never crack open their own book after publication. It’s a done deal, and now it just needs to sell well, right? The reason I suggest that you read your own book again is so that you can locate all the magical unique hooks you already wrote into it. Those unique hooks are your direct line to marketing and sales success and they’re all there, just waiting for you to use them.

For example, does your main character have an interesting preference? Love coffee? Love to square dance, love raising rabbits? It could be anything that reaches a large audience of people who also love that unique hook. Race cars, country music, chocolate, dogs, cats, healthy living…a powerful unique hook can be anything. Usually authors forget about these wonderful elements of their story when it comes to marketing, choosing instead to focus on genre, like all their other author friends.

Here’s an important tip for any author marketing strategy—MARKETING IS NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL EFFORT. Never forget that your book is different from any other book written by any other author. It should never be marketed like any other book, no matter the genre. Those unique hooks are the colors and brush strokes that make your book so unique. Use them! Reach out to coffee lovers, dog lovers, people who love healthy eating or green lifestyle. Focus your marketing on country music lovers, horse lovers, or whatever element makes your story so extremely different from another author’s book. Unique hooks are the way to spread the love deeper and further than your competition. You will find yourself marketing to people who actually respond because they’re not so snowed under with other shouting authors. Your pond will be full of fish no one else is trying to catch.

Make more loveSTEP 3 – MAKE MORE LOVE

It’s wonderful to locate twitter and Facebook unique hook lovers by searching your unique hooks. If your unique hook is dogs, seek out animal rescue league, dog breeders, and pet related product services and company Facebook and twitter accounts, then simply ask their followers to follow or friend you. That gives you big reach,

To make more love, think about those people who love your unique hooks. A great way to make an impact with really strong unique hook lovers is to seek out bloggers (NOT OTHER AUTHORS, just regular folks) who blog about your unique hooks. A blog about loving chocolate, dogs, or country music can be loaded with followers you need to reach. Once you find the perfect blogger (or several bloggers) simply ask the blog owner to guest blog to their following. Assure them that the guest blog will be about the thing they love. The last paragraph or so of this guest blog would tie the topic to your book. The blog owner will gladly post the provided jpg of your book cover and buy link at the bottom. Most bloggers love this! They’re thrilled to have a real author guest blog for them…and you’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach out and market to all their blog followers, people you’d never reach if you did the tired old genre marketing strategies. Imagine creating your own, unique hook, personalized blog tour! The best part of this technique? There are no other authors anywhere in sight! It’s a WIN/WIN!

 Write Brain.Left Brain

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

Finding Author Success 2nd edition

Available in print Amazon, B&N and e-book Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

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AUTHOR MARKETING MISCONCEPTION NUMBER 2: MARKETING DOESN’T WORK

meanIf you hold the screw driver upside down, it doesn’t work. If you don’t plug in the copier, it doesn’t work. Nothing works if you use it incorrectly. Most authors see marketing as an intrusion into their writing lives. It seems like a foreign language meant to be spoken in a far off land they never heard of. Without an embassy or tour guide, marketing feels like something that simply can’t work because there’s nothing about it an author understands. Authors with this mindset are still the amazing, creative people who wrote their book-but somehow taking shortcuts they never would have considered when developing plot or character seem just fine for marketing that book. Authors seek the briefest, easiest, and most unobtrusive ways to use marketing that they can find or devise. Shortcuts are the name of the game and unfortunately, just as shortcuts don’t work to write a great book, they don’t work for implementing effective marketing. Twitter’s fun, so they make friends and talk, they repeatedly ask people to buy their book and chit-chat about writing the next book with all their other Twitter author followers. They try silly puzzle promotions, quick online launch parties, and join every author book promotion event they can locate. That should do it, right? Here’s the unfortunate catch. All of these efforts are noble; they show motivation and willingness to be a good marketing author. The simple problem is that these authors are not using marketing correctly. Authors who fail at marketing do not fail in their intention to do it well; they fail at not plugging the marketing machine into the outlet, that’s all. creative veggie gardernLike everything creative in the world, marketing has a process. Cooking has recipes, games have rules, building a house requires plans. Writing a book well has the same kind of laws. So why would marketing be any different? Authors aren’t afraid to plant a garden or bake bread, even though it’s not what they do all the time and requires different sets of rules. To these gardening and cooking authors, it’s just a cool new adventure. So is marketing. Marketing might not grow a perfect crop of zucchini or present the best spicy loaf of bread ever baked, but marketing can do something you want even more. Truly creative marketing, when used correctly, can help you get massive book sales…and that tastes way better than any zucchini bread on the planet.

Get the book sales you want!


Write Brain.Left Brain

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

Finding Author Success 2nd edition

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Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

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ARE YOU IN YOUR WRITE BRAIN … OR YOUR MARKETING BRAIN?

frazzled BrainI bet you think these are two completely different brains, or at least that these tasks take place in two completely different parts of the brain. Guess what? They don’t. Lots of feelings come in to play when an author hears the word MARKETING, and most of them are unfortunate misunderstandings. This is the beginning of a series covering the twelve most limiting author marketing misconceptions. These are the misinterpretations and mistaken beliefs that have run rampant in the author world, giving marketing a bad name and a fearful image. Strap in for a crazy ride. You may just discover a few things about marketing that make it far less foreign and far more familiar to your author creative skill set than you ever imagined. I give to you the 12 Author Marketing Misconceptions, and how to save yourself from the fearful marketing monsters that don’t actually exist. Open your mind and take in the facts about this misjudged ally. You may discover that marketing is actually your partner and an invaluable collaborator in your quest for book sales success.   Devil 112 AUTHOR MARKETING MISCONCEPTIONS MISCONCEPTION #1 Marketing is Evil Believe it or not, I have heard this more times than I’d like to admit. Truthfully, marketing is not immoral or wicked, it isn’t harmful, doesn’t cause misfortune or suffering. Marketing doesn’t have a dreadful character, it isn’t angry or cruel, it has no bad intentions. Marketing doesn’t cause mischief. Marketing will not steal your car. Marketing can, however, help you buy a new car, a really great car with all the bells and whistles. To say that marketing is evil is to unfortunately admit that you have no clue what marketing actually is or how it works. It’s all right; most authors are in that same misguided boat. See, the reality is that marketing isn’t the nasty demon in an author’s life. It is, however, the simplest tool to master and can guide you the heavens…if you let it. Understanding what marketing actually is will help. Marketing is creating awareness of your book. You’re already doing that a bit. You’ve told everyone you know about your book, again, and again, and again. See there’s a difference between marketing and marketing well. You may be marketing with few results because you’re repeatedly creating awareness to the same small audience. It’s time to go wide instead of just Los Angeles rain-puddle deep. Marketing is all about creating awareness to huge audiences— broad audiences loaded with people. If you build a following of these huge audiences and connect with them, you will have marketed well and created wide awareness of your book. SUCCESSLocating these audiences is the creative element of marketing most authors never recognize. The key is not to only look for book buyers or readers, but also to seek out lovers of the unique elements inside your story. Using your story unique hooks leads you to massive audiences other authors aren’t approaching, and that glowing successful sales feeling we all want. Once you’ve marketed well and wide, really nice things happen. Awareness is the groundwork for promotions and publicity. If people aren’t aware of a book, they’re less likely to respond to your promotions and purchased the book. If they’re not aware of your book, they are also less likely to support your publicity. Marketing is extremely important because without that solid groundwork, you’re doing nothing but spinning your wheels, begging the same people over and over to buy your book. That’s just not fun.

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

 

Finding Author Success 2nd edition

Available in print Amazon, B&N and e-book Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

Available in print Amazon, B&N and e-book Kindle, Nook, Kobo


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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WRITE BRAIN/LEFT BRAIN: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN CREATIVE WRITER AND MARKETING AUTHOR

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Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

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TIPS FOR MAKING BETTER AUTHOR MARKETING CHOICES

Bull 1How many authors are out there, right this minute, trying to sell their books? Hundreds? Thousands? More? How scary is that? Whether you’re about to release your first book or your tenth, it’s more than scary, it can be paralyzingly terrifying. Here’s the bigger question: Are you getting the sales results from your marketing that you’re hoping for? I’m guessing the answer is, no. Never fear, there is a simple solution. All you need to do is make better marketing choices. In my experience, authors have a tendency to latch onto a marketing idea then run with it—and a crowd of other authors doing that same strategy—even if the idea doesn’t really work. It’s like Pamplona in July, only these are writers, racing feverishly with their keyboards under their arms, and unknowingly running from success. But hey, they have each other, right? Unfortunately it always ends up the same, and there’s always blood. It’s time for authors to step away from the competition, be more analytical, and make better marketing choices if they want better results. Here are five tips for how to do just that.   Popular, 1

HOW POPULAR IS THE IDEA? When writers get together, many of them fall in love the same marketing idea. Take free book giveaways, for example. There are several rationalizations for this extremely ineffective marketing sales strategy. There are the authors interested in getting on the top FREE books list. Most authors want to sell books, so that concept completely escapes me. A free book is not a sold book, and you can’t sell a book to someone who already received it for free. Some authors cling to the idea that if they give away a book, it will hook readers into loving their work and they’ll tell everyone they know to buy the book. The sad part about this concept is that the author has forgotten the biggest, most basic marketing rule of all…the rule of perceived value. How much is a free item worth? There’s a reason people say, “You get what you pay for.” It’s not that your book has little value, it’s that the recipient perceives that it has little value. If you have a great series and perpetually give away the first book in that series, it makes sense because the following books are available to purchase, and the free book is an invitation into the series. In that case, the free book LEADS to sales. Other than a giveaway that LEADS to sales, the only books you should ever give away should go to legitimate reviewers. Beyond the free book giveaway idea are a hundred other silly author strategies which include games, puzzles, blasting twitter messages, guest blogging on other author’s blogs, and author book review swaps. Among the worst ideas is the “Lets authors all get together and do something to bring readers to us!” The problem is that these events seldom actually attract book buyers. They do however attract other authors who want to participate and sadly, authors are not your broadest book buyer base. If you want better book sales, it’s time to STEP AWAY FROM OTHER AUTHORS! If an idea is vastly popular and all your author friends are doing it, that’s a clear sign that you should be doing something else—something that isn’t in the dead center of your shouting competition.   worth effort 1

IS THE IDEA WORTH THE EFFORT? COST? TIME? Some authors have deep pockets and they lean toward hiring a service to handle their book marketing. It’s a nice idea, but be careful with your money. Be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. If a company guarantees that your promotion or advertisement will be seen by thousands of people, find out who those people are. Often companies geared toward book marketing merely pull together a lot of authors, and those other authors are the people most likely to see your ad. Authors are too busy trying to sell their own books to be perusing and considering the purchase of other authors’ books. Ask exactly who will be seeing your promotion or ad and step away, wallet intact, if it looks like other authors are the primary audience. If not and you can afford the service, by all means go for it. Stepping out on your own often means thinking more creatively. Frequently something wonderful comes to town and it can be a huge boon for your particular book, but only if you’re thinking independently and creatively will you recognize these opportunities. For example, if your book is about a circus or has a circus as a major component of the story, look around. Is the circus coming to town? Is the local museum doing an exhibit on circus history? Is there a clown school in your town or city? Local connections are great ways to start testing your marketing ideas. But is this idea worth the time and energy? If the visiting circus has no problem with you selling and signing books at the entry of their venue, you may want to go for it. If you want to set up a speaking engagement at the clown school before or after a public performance, connect with the directors and see how you can make it happen. If the museum will only permit you to set up a speaking/book signing event if you guarantee to bring in 1,000 people for the exhibit…think twice, it may take too much of your time, energy, and advertising dollars. OR…it may help you sell that many more books. The point of all this speculation is that it’s far more effective to strike out on your own, be creative and original, and reach out to people interested in your book’s unique hook—in this case the circus. The question is, is the effort, cost, and time worth it? Only you can determine that. Most times it is. Other times, it may fall short. With good creative efforts and smart time management, it can work really well, expose your book to a new audience, and create more sales than anything you’ve ever done before. Always step back after the event and make sure it brought the results you wanted. If not, decide what you could have done differently or better. If it was successful, schedule the next event with joy and enthusiasm.   Oposite, 1

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TRYING THE OPPOSITE? If all the runners are running to the right and all the bulls are following them…run left. If every author is shouting at genre lover book clubs, look for the opposite way to reach lovers of that genre. Book marketing is such an abstract concept to authors that they tend to think BOOKS and only BOOKS. But what you should be thinking about is not books, not readers of books, not genre lovers…but lovers of the unique concepts, ideas, and events inside your book. ALWAYS REMEMBER—you are not marketing books, you are marketing A PRODUCT TO PEOPLE. Those people like things. Things like the circus, motorcycles, dogs, wine, gardening, or whatever interesting unique hook is already written inside your book. Marketing is all about creating awareness of your product and making a connection with people who will love your product. Limiting your marketing strategies to just book buyers, genre lovers, and book clubs is like choosing to talk to only the guests staying in one room of a thousand-room hotel. The opposite of what most authors do is to think about the broader target buyer for your product. If your book is a love story between a small town girl and a Harley riding loner and you just market to romance lovers and romance book clubs, you’ve just missed a huge marketing opportunity! Search motorcycles, Harley Davidson motorcycles, bikers, and motorcycle culture on twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo Groups and marvel at the massive audience who love that unique hook. The women who love motorcycles also read and buy books. Connect with them and you’ve just multiplied your marketing audience by thousands. The best part of all this is that there are no other authors trying to get your audience’s attention. Do the opposite. It will always pay off.   New Audiences, 1

IDENTIFY NEW AUDIENCES FOR A BOOST IN SALES We touched on this a bit already. Your unique story hooks will lead you to broader audiences in a marketing strategy that will only work for your book and no one else’s. But think about this for a moment. I guarantee that there is more than one unique hook within your book. There were two in the story between a small town girl and a Harley riding loner. The first one was motorcycles, plus leather, motor cycle culture, biker boots, etc. The second one is small town living, plus gardening, diners, cooking, and coffee. If you think about it, you’ve already written several unique hooks right in your book. Locating the audiences for these hooks is just as creative a process as writing your book, mind you. Search small town living on twitter, Facebook and Yahoo Groups. You’ll discover large groups of people talking about small town life. Connecting with these groups gives you the opportunity to talk about the small town lifestyle in your book. If there’s a gardener or a short order diner cook in your book, search online and located groups of people talking about those subjects. If a hook is biker boots or leather jackets, search out Facebook pages owned by businesses that sell those products and communicate with the followers. Connection is the key to effective marketing. That means talking with lovers of your unique hooks about the topic, NOT begging them to buy your book. Make friends, and never forget to have your book noted clearly in your bio and/or on your email tag for yahoo groups.   Analyze 4

TEST YOUR RESULTS The best thing about identifying and using your unique hooks to locate and connect with prospective book buyers is bigger than just stepping away from your competition for best results. It’s a great way to grow sales steadily between your current release and the next release. So many authors reach for the stars, have a great release and big sales, then suddenly their sales fall off drastically. This is the time to reach out to a new unique hook audience. Gain more sales, watch to make sure the audience was responsive enough then move on to the next unique hook. Writing a book is a solitary creative effort. Marketing a book is a performance art. Testing to see which audiences and efforts bring the best results will help you to continue to make better marketing choices. Better choices lead to better sales.   My final thought for you: if you want to run with the bulls, plan a trip, buy a plane ticket and run with the bulls, not with your fellow authors. Pamplona is far less dangerous. Go and be successful! Questions? I’m happy to answer!  

Write Brain.Left BrainAVAILABLE NOW

WRITE BRAIN/LEFT BRAIN: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN CREATIVE WRITER AND MARKETING AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Analyze 1ANALYZE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Crowd 1LOCATE A LARGER AUDIENCE

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

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

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

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

 

Holding Hands 1MAINTAIN A CONTINUOUS BOND

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go and be successful!

Questions? I’m happy to answer!

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