Tag Archives: Cross Marketing

AUTHORS ABOVE THE CROWD … STRATEGY

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

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

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

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

goals 2SET GOALS

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

bookbuyer 1TALK TO BOOK BUYERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write Brain.Left Brain

AVAILABLE NOW

Finding Author Success Second Edition available in print and ebook

Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors available in print and ebook

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Writers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write Brain.Left Brain

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: Making Friends with New Markets

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

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

INTRODUCE YOURSELF

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

BE INVOLVED

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

MAKE REASONABLE OFFERINGS

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

BE CONSISTENT

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

YOUR BOOK IS THE UNDERLINE, NOT THE STATEMENT

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

FOLLOW UP

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

KNOW WHEN TO STEP AWAY

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now all I have to do is write it.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 


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!


True Marketing Power for Authors: Come Out From Under the “Narrow Marketing Vision” Rock!

I totally understand that authors are a little skittish and afraid of everything “marketing”, but we all understand that it’s the way of the publishing world these days. It only makes sense that like the original cavemen, writers and authors would ban together for safety and survival … but is that really the way to thrive and grow? Yes, it has been a fight or flight world for hopeful authors over the last decade, but it’s gone beyond the really dangerous times. Now we can all breathe a little easier and forge ahead in this brave new publishing world.

So, how do we go about it? With the apocalypse over and all the industry shifts finally settling into patterns, it’s time to pick up our heads and look around. We’ve all been hiding under a rock … the Narrow Marketing Vision rock … so who else is under there with us?

I’m going to start with a question. In your facebook list of friends, how many of them are other authors? How many of your twitter followers are other authors? To effectively use these two powerful social networking venues, the ratio of authors to prospective book buyers and fans should be – 1 author/10 book buyers. I’m going to guess you’re nowhere near that.

Most authors I know have hundreds of other authors as friends and followers and I completely understand the attraction. After all, we’re all in the trenches together, struggling together. We need each other for pats on the back and encouragement, a shoulder to cry on or an understanding sounding board. That’s all good … except that far too often we get so caught up in our author camaraderie, we forget the real reason for social networking – to GAIN PROSPECTIVE BOOK BUYERS AND FANS.

There are major benefits to having daily connection with other authors. It’s like a college study group, everyone has a different area of study expertise – the industry news, which agents or publishers are closing or opening, who got signed and who decided to self-publish. It’s great feedback on how the industry influences your own work. You always know what genres are building and which are fading, which audiences are becoming lucrative and which ones are dissolving. Other authors are a wonderful resource for a plethora of industry information that directly affects you and your career.

As wonderful as all this information is and as supportive as all these friendships can be, there is a dangerous patch of quicksand there too and it involves marketing. In any given hour, in any given author twitter stream there are at least three new fangled promotional ideas someone tried and someone else tried and someone else found success with. Does this mean it’s a good idea to help sell YOUR book? Maybe, maybe not. Does this mean it’s worth your time and effort? Maybe, maybe not. I can honestly say that if it’s free, try it but if it takes your hard earned money, think twice.

The kind of quick and easy promotional ideas that float around cyber space for authors have two problems. First, everyone has seen them so everyone will be trying them. And second, they usually have nothing to do with seriously targeting YOUR prospective book buyer. In other words, all the cool marketing ideas under that Narrow Marketing Vision rock are generic and overused. Many writers and authors are so deeply embedded into their author connections, they completely forget that there are other ways to gain book sales.

Back to that social networking ratio – 1 author /10 book buyers. A serious author seeking sales success must treat this ratio like a precious gem. No, I’m not suggesting that you cut off all your author friends, I’m simply suggesting that you focus your social networking growth on prospective book buyers and fans until you reach that all-important ratio.

Now for the BIG QUESTION. Where do you find your prospective book buyers and fans? Time get down to the work.

What genre do you write? What is the clear demographic of your reader? Where are those readers? For now, I’m going to just grab a genre and target market out of the hat. If you don’t write in this genre, the system of targeting is the same, just focused in a different direction.

The hat says … drum roll … Urban Fantasy. What we’re going to do first is determine how to find urban fantasy readers, then how to approach them on twitter and facebook.

Start with a list of places those prospective book buyers might be by determining key words.

  • Vampire
  • Fae/Fairy
  • Werewolf
  • Fantasy
  • Paranormal
  • Supernatural
  • Paranormal Romance (if it fits and there is some romance in your book)
  • Trolls
  • Shape-Shifters

This is just a brief list of subjects your prospective urban fantasy book buyer may be interested in. Now it’s time to reach out. Create a list under each category (if you ask twitter or facebook to search “vampire”, it will list everything under that catagory) and simply make friends or start following. If you do this for ten to fifteen minutes every day within your twitter and facebook accounts, you’ll be amazed at how your base will grow and that author/prospective book buyer ratio will improve.

There is a vital next step to all this. If you are currently heavily into author connections, you most likely tweet and facebook post “author and writer” related comments. This has to change along with your ratio of followers and friends. You’ll need to tweet and facebook post things about urban fantasy, your stories and exploration of the genre. Only by doing this can you hook your new prospective buyer followers and friends into wanting to chat with you and actively follow. Post a question of the day on your facebook. Create a fun exploration of an urban fantasy creature in your twitter stream … and ALWAYS REMEMBER to at least twice every day, post or tweet links to your website and where your books can be purchased.

Getting out from under the Narrow Marketing Vision rock is the first step to truly gaining bigger book sales.Next week we’ll be covering new avenues for marketing that your author friends haven’t even thought about yet … and in a few weeks we’ll explore how to delve deeper into your manuscript for prospective buyers that you can’t see on the surface of your genre.

Questions? Please post a comment and I’d love to answer.

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!