Tag Archives: promotion

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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Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

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True Marketing Power for Authors: Making Friends with New Markets

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

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

INTRODUCE YOURSELF

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

BE INVOLVED

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

MAKE REASONABLE OFFERINGS

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

BE CONSISTENT

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

YOUR BOOK IS THE UNDERLINE, NOT THE STATEMENT

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

FOLLOW UP

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

KNOW WHEN TO STEP AWAY

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now all I have to do is write it.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 


Author Success Series: Cross Marketing – Putting it all Together

Every element of your Cross Marketing Strategy should be documented and tested. It’s not good enough to try something and discover a few weeks later “Oh man! That really worked! Now, what was it I did, exactly?” To build momentum for your book’s visibility, interest and sales you need to know what you’re attempting, what your goals are, and you must clearly document how successful or unsuccessful each effort is.

If you think a specific Cross Market is perfect for your book – that your murder mystery has enough “gardening” elements in it to approach the garden magazines, clubs and online stores – and you try it, how do you really know if it was successful or not? In your head, it might seem like a perfect fit, but did it really work? Of course, you will be running at least two or three different Cross Market approaches at the same time, plus your standard marketing to the obvious target markets, but how can you break it down to see which effort was successful and which was not so successful? AND, how much success makes a Cross Market direction worthy of additional exploration?There are a few critical red flags involved here, and among them are the biggest three that torment most authors.

  • HOPE – oh, we sooooo hope that people like our book that we sometimes display our baby and just wish for great results. We’re looking for emotional, professional, personal and maybe even spiritual validation, a reason to go on. Okay, maybe that’s a little too dramatic but you get my point. I call Hope a non-strategy. It falls under the category of inaction and must always be checked at the door when testing your marketing and especially your Cross Marketing, because there’s easily twice as much of a chance for criticism in an unsuspecting cross market as there will be in the normal genre market strategy.
  • IMAGINED CREDIBILITY – okay, this one doesn’t only apply to Cross Marketing, it applies to writing your book in the first place. Words you might say to yourself under the influence of IMAGINED CREDABILITY are: Oh, people will love this idea! People need to read more books like this. (And my favorite) If I just explain my reasoning they’ll buy my book by the millions! Trust me, if you have to explain anything to anyone, it’s not working, whether we’re talking about your plot or your Cross Marketing strategy. Simplicity is what attracts people, and reality is what attracts Cross Markets. If you think that gardening clubs will love your book because your main character has a back yard garden, you may be way off base. Be credible with your Cross Marketing. It will take a LOT of focus on that character’s garden to attract the attention of gardening clubs and groups. That garden must almost be a main character. If it isn’t, this would be like approaching dentist groups because one of your main character brushes his teeth once in the book. Imagined Credibility is another non-strategy.
  • FEAR – yes, fear. Ouch, this one can put a real kibosh on your plans, no matter how well thought out and possibly successful your Cross Marketing ideas are. Try to look on the bright side. What are you really afraid of? Is a Cross Market does not respond to your efforts, there’s nothing lost. It’s not like your primary genre has stepped up and insisted you stink. It’s a Cross Market … an extra step for seeking new and more readers … and the point of all this is to test uncharted waters. Face your fears, take a leap and see what happens. Fear = non-strategy #3

In all three of these cases – Hope, Imagined Credibility and Fear – you need to recognize them for what they are: non-strategies and ineffective wastes of time. I usually simply mark them “DUH” because, of course, I knew better when I implemented them in the first place.

So, how do you keep track of all this Cross Market activity? You must create a worksheet that A) Develops creative exploration for Cross Markets, B) Establishes a testing system to determine if the Cross Market is viable and C) Expands on good ideas while eliminating the bad ideas.

You must set standards. Creating a worksheet to help you navigate through the process can be a simple plan or a complex plan. It can be created on Excel forms or on a yellow lined pad. There are three primary tasks listed above and three non-strategy situations to avoid.

Because marketing and Cross Marketing your book is such a personal thing, I strongly encourage you to create your own worksheet, but to help you visualize, I’ve attached a sample Cross Marketing Worksheet PDF here.

Worksheet to Help Navigate Your Plan

Remember, every book and every author is different, so make sure your worksheet is specific to your book, your genre, your subgenres and your sensibilities. Make the plan aggressive enough but also not too big for you to manage effectively. Activity is the key to success and remember, you must put in the work.

Next week we’ll add the finishing touches to this Cross Marketing Series with some Time Management Strategies!

Author Success Series: Cross Marketing

What is Cross Marketing?

Cross Marketing from the Obvious to the Sublime

Crossing the line into TURBO Creative Thinking

Cross Marketing – Expanding your Platforms

Cross Marketing – Playing the Genre Game WELL

Cross Marketing – Locating Your Alternative Markets

Cross Marketing – How to Approach Cross Markets

Cross Marketing – How to Maintain Your Cross Markets


Author Success: A Well “Business Planned” Future, part 7

PART SEVEN: Your Promotional Plan

Trust me, you NEED a promotional plan. A good, strong, well organized and pin point targeted promotional plan. I’ve been in PR, marketing and promotions most of my professional life and this is truly a subject you simply can’t ignore. I’ve seen it happen in every industry, not just the business of being a writer. It goes back to the basics of being a professional.

The basics are the nuts and bolts and these principals have been vital since the cavemen convinced each other to trade shells and feathers for goods and services. If you don’t tell someone you’re an expert at something, how will they know? If you don’t show them your skill, how can they decide they want it? If you don’t promote … you basically don’t exist.

Promotion is vital and it’s vital early. As writers, we’re all told to have a web presence. I have heard several people tell me that yes, they have a website for their book but it’s basically static. Not good. You MUST update your book and your author websites often, just like your blog. Granted, a blog may receive far more self gratification through responses and viewer numbers, but don’t confuse numbers with creating awareness. Your sites are where your creative juices and polished talent get to really shine.

Update your websites at least once a month, more if possible with anything that works – news, snippets of cut scenes, interviews with your characters. Remember, a writer has an unwritten agreement with a reader. If they come to your website, they need to know that you were there too, that you continue to talk with them and that you are aware of them. The other side of the coin is a static website, one that gives a reader/viewer/follower no good reason whatsoever to pop by at all. If you write literary novels, add a page that can feature your research techniques. Fantasy? Explore fantasy through the ages. Update information as to where you are on your next book, or how to buy your current book. List where you will be speaking or signing your book and what events you’ll be attending. Do small pieces on your characters. Be sure to put sample chapters up (more than a small excerpt )to hook your visitors. Make sure you have a ‘contact the author’ button so visitors can communicate with you. Embed your blog.

Your websites should NEVER be stagnant. They need to be living, breathing sales entities AND you need to tell as many people as possible that there’s always something new to see there.

Another promotional tool is social networking to shout out your accomplishments, but always remember that social networking loses its power when all the viewers see is you trying to sell your book. Be a person, make some friends, have some fun and your new found circle will be interested in knowing more.

Find other venues to promote yourself and your work. Step outside the box. Find other websites to become visible and active within. Find interest groups and connect on a common subject with your book’s topic. Make friends with other authors. Share excerpts with them. Look for other authors to promote when you tweet or blog or update your own site. Friends help friends and friends trust friends. It’s a basic key to good promotion. Look into free and minimal cost promotional services. Book videos and wonderful interviews you give mean nothing if you don’t promote them and no one ever sees them.

When do you start all this? Here’s the kicker, you should have started when you got the idea to write a book. Honest. When an agent or publisher is interested in you, the first thing he or she does is Goggle your name. When was the last time you Googled yourself? It might be a good time to check your online presence by taking a look. If you have little or no presence, no matter how great your book is, you may discover that not only is an agent or publisher less willing to look at you seriously … but so are prospective buyers for your book. They just don’t know you exist and it’s your job to tell them.

Promoting yourself and your book should be easy and exciting. After all, you are passionate about your book or you wouldn’t have written it … and second, making friends and telling your story as an author is a fabulous, quickening experience.

Get out your notebook and let’s get started.

  • Review your products (that’s you and your book) and clarify your message. This is vital, you do have a message, whether you write non-fiction how-to books or supernatural fantasy novels. Hone in on your message.
  • Understand your competition. Take some time to look at other authors and books in the same genre. Examine what they’re doing to promote, track their success and understand how the market accepts, understands and embraces them. Nothing serves a promotional plan better than knowing what works and doesn’t work … especially when someone else did all the legwork. (BTW, with a little luck, someone someday will be shadowing your promotional efforts too.)
  • Perfect your multi-level strategy. Determine how many powerful targets you want to approach and take aim. Good promotional strategy speaks to at least three targets in as many as a hundred different ways. Press releases. Social networking. Electronic media. Publications. Live appearances. And much, much more. Where, when and how do you want to shout out your message? Plan carefully and keep records. After all, any good promotional plan will happen again and again, but how do you know if, for example, buying a billboard on Sunset Boulevard actually worked if you don’t track its response? How many people came to a speaking engagement purely by word of mouth, how many from info in your Author Website Media Room, how many from press releases printed in newspapers or magazines, how many from a previous interview at a radio station or online blog? Know these things and every time you regenerate your promotional plan, you’ll be able to tighten it more and more until it holds nothing but the elements that work best for you and your book.
  • Careful with your timing and budget. There are good times and there are not so good times to promote. If your book is about a tsunami and one hits an island somewhere in the south Pacific right before your book is released, is it good timing or bad timing? If your book is about zombies, still unpublished but represented by an agent and there are fifteen new zombie books hitting the shelves in the next eight months, is it a good time to promote or not? Is it worth the time to drive across the state (or across the country) to speak at bookstores, libraries and writing groups? Is $10 too much to pay for an online ad? Is $800 too much to pay for a book video? The answer to all these questions lies in just two more questions … What value do you get for your dollar and/or effort? What’s the payoff? The answer to those questions helps you be more careful and efficient with your time, promotional timing and budget. For example, an $800 book video that also offers promotion for the video that can be tracked, as opposed to a book video made by your geek video-making friend then plopped on YouTube, may make you think twice. Is the expenditure worth it? If you must spend not only the time working with your geek friend to create your free book video, then spend additional hours trying to get everyone to pop in and see it, maybe it just doesn’t compare to paying a legitimate company $800 for a professionally created book video that’s guaranteed to appear on real television. Think value. If driving across the country requires staying in motels then speaking to massive groups of people waiting to see you and buy your book, there’s the payoff. If your zombie novel kicks butt over any other zombie book because it’s so unique, that’s counting coup. If your book sales soar because your romance book video appeared on the Lifetime Channel, you win. If not? Back to the drawing board. Being careful with your timing and budget means doing all the homework first.
  • Good follow-up matters! Even if you think it doesn’t, it does. If someone comments on your blog, respond immediately. If a fan sends you an email, return an email. If you send one press release to a newspaper and they don’t print it, keep that contact on your media list and send the next release and the next and the next. Eventually, they will print your news. If a reporter wants to talk, of course you would respond in a heartbeat. If someone wants to sell you a service, listen to them too, it might have value (if not for you, perhaps for another author you know, thus you’ll create two friends). If a fan writes every time you post a new entry on your book website, thank them for their loyalty. These follow up activities are easy, usually free and worth millions. Never leave anyone unanswered, and never forget to talk to that person, business, media outlet, agent, editor, publisher or movie studio when they ask to talk to you. And don’t ever forget – the lowly fan who simply posts a happy face on your blog is as important and Mr. Movie Studio Man. Good follow-up matters, because it’s how we build our public and fan base. It’s why people like Niel Gaiman and Russell Crowe use twitter, it’s the reason authors have facebook fan pages, it’s the reason the newspapers eventually do respond to your press releases and grow to respect you. Nothing makes a newspaper person happier than good follow-up.

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Author Success Coaching

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Author Success, A Well “Business Planned” Future

Lesson 1, But … I’m a Writer, Not a Businessperson

Lesson 2, Your Subject Hooks and Selling Handles

Lesson 3, How Long

Lesson 4, Author Platform and Book Platform

Lesson 5, Target Markets

Lesson 6. Your Exposure Plan


Author Success: A Well “Business Planned” Future, part 6

PART SIX: Your Exposure Plan

Too much exposure? Not enough exposure? Exposure of what? Who really cares? And when is it time for brownies and milk? Truffles and fine aged bourbon? A good cigar? Whipped cream cake?

Yup, that’s pretty much how I feel too by this point in the game. You’ve struggled through determining how to be the perfectly balanced writer and businessperson, you’ve determined how long your book (and commitment to it) will be, you’ve discovered and uncovered unique hooks and new markets for your book, and you’ve separated your author platform from your book platform. You’ve identified target markets and all along the way, polished and honed your work. Definitely … it’s time for a little indulgence, and exposure is part of that indulgence, believe it or not.

Remember all those stories about the pretty girls who would send themselves flowers and candy just to make sure the object of their affection knew that they were indeed desirable and worth having? What fun (and I’m not admitting I ever did anything of the sort!), right? Now, creating exposure isn’t quite like that, but it serves the same purpose by clearly stating that your book is something desirable and worth reading. Without having to send yourself fake acceptance letters from bogus publishers, there are several ways to get exposure without cheating, lying or breaking the bank.

But …

Before we move on, I want to explore that image of pretty girl sending herself flowers a little further. Oh to be her. To have that kind of confidence! To know, without a doubt that she is a real catch and point it out so blatantly. I talk to writers and even published authors every day and am always shocked and amazed by two things.

  • The lack of confidence
  • The inability to see the focus

Lack of Confidence

As writers we start out feeling pretty good. I call this the Germination Period, the point where we realize we really do have a unique and powerful story to tell and the ability to write it. Then we go through the actual work, the writing, the critique groups, the mentorship, the rewriting and the polishing. This is the Lookie what I can do! Phase. We’ve defended and learned, grown and sharpened our craft, then we go into the Dark Realm Period and that’s where everything gets haywire. The Dark Realm? Querying, getting rejection after rejection and somewhere in the shuffle of kind and not-so-kind rejections, we lose the girl sending herself flowers. We forget who we are and begin to feel like failures. There’s only one way to combat the dark realm period. Get the hell out of the dark realm by moving faster ahead. Face facts, there are a lot of stones on the road to Oz and you are going to trip on every one of them. Keep your eyes on the prize and remember … it only takes one “yes”. Keep that original confidence, in fact, make it stronger as you go.

The Inability to see the Focus

Okay, now this one really baffles me. Aside from fear of rejection, almost all writers and authors have one other career destroying flaw – the inability to see the true focus of their journey. It never fails, every time I talk to a writer or author it’s the same story. They think that it’s not time to expose their work yet, that the book isn’t done or represented or contracted or published yet, so it’s too early to actually expose it or even plan for its success. This is a fundamental problem that must be addressed and obliterated. First of all, and I know this may sound crazy insane to some of you but … your book is NOT the product!

YOU ARE!

Honestly, it’s YOU you will be exposing, promoting and getting people excited about. It’s YOU who will be sharing the journey and excitement about writing your book. It’s YOU! How do I know this? Simple. Ask yourself a simple question. Is this the only book you will ever write? If so, we have nothing more to discuss. Sayonara. Have a nice life. But I can tell you one thing; I have yet to come across a writer who seriously aspires to be a one book wonder. YOU are the first product, YOU are the last product. YOU are THE product. Once a writer focused on that simple truth, everything gets easier. And of course, it gets more active.

Activity buffers the rejections. It plays into the universe’s plan for advancement against all odds. We didn’t write our books on a cave wall, right? Advancement started when man started and now we can move into the magic activity of getting exposure!

Here are the seven sexy ways to get exposure and recognition early and for a long time.

  1. Be consistent. I’d like to start with just a brief few words about consistency. A writer has an unspoken agreement with their readers, whether those readers are twitter followers, FaceBook friends, blog followers or critique group associates. That agreement is to be consistent. Period. It’s a promise that you’ll be there, keep writing, keep being the nice person you are and continue to earn their loyalty. You can’t keep followers or friends if you’re only around sporadically. Be honest, be interesting but most importantly, be there.
  2. Intensify your social networking. Make it more targeted. A friend of mine is a pilot so we’ll use him here. Suppose you’re a pilot. If you’ve written a book about or surrounding aviation, make sure your followers on Twitter and friends on FaceBook are, if not pilots and aviation workers, at least interested in the field. Talk about your story … without talking about your story. I know, it sounds complex but imagine yourself at a cocktail party when someone your talking with mentions a flight to Bali they recently took. You smoothly mention a flight you piloted there, what happened on your layover and that the experience was so interesting, you even put it in your book. Easy conversation is what Twitter and FaceBook require for optimum results. Your followers and friends need to know and like YOU first, then learn you’re writing a book, then want to know more about the book. Good job at the cocktail party. You’ve just gotten several future sales. Go to the head of the class.
  3. Use your expertise. A pilot knows a mess of things outside flying a plane but still connected with the experience of flying. Are there areas of special interest about a plane that not only hook into your book, but also spark the imagination? For example, are there little known facts that prospective buyers of your book might like to know? How many times birds bump into a plane, for example. If that’s something interesting and in a small way connected to your book, why not create a blog, written by a bird who often bumps into planes. On the ground, in the air, during landing or take off. The Bruised Bird Blogger (probably a professor-ish pelican with an elegant lisp) could expand the entries beyond the thud and resulting dizziness into what’s going on with the plane itself. He can be the expert passing on knowledge about take off and landing, about what he sees through the windows of the cockpit and the expressions on the passengers’ faces during landing. It could be fun to write, it could be entertaining to read, it could be informative but most of all, it could promote your expertise. It exposes YOU as the author, the Bruised Bird Blogger and the future best seller you’re writing. This is part of what makes agents and publishers think twice before saying “no thanks”. This kind of exposure says that you’re in this as deep as an author can get.
  4. A friend tells a friend who tells two friends who … Never underestimate the power of “word of mouth”. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the more people who know you are writing a book, the better your chances of exposing it. Everyone you work with should know you’re writing a book. Your dentist, your vet, your drycleaner, your gardener. Spread the love further. Expose it in your email tags, even if it’s something as simple as a line stating, “Writing a book, pray for me”.
  5. Be a joiner. There are writing and author groups everywhere in the world. If you can’t find one in your town or city, look online. Join Linkedin, I found a few wonderful writing groups there. The cool thing about joining writing and author groups, aside from the wonderful sharing of information and experience, is the fact that it makes us accountable. You tell someone you’re going to write 10,000 words by Thursday or you intend to finish a plot or chapter by Friday and guess what? Someone knows so you have to do it, you just have to. There are no excuses for failing a serious commitment. A promise broken is one of those stones we trip on along the way. Making ourselves accountable to someone helps keep us all honest and moving ahead. Another BIG benefit to joining groups is simple … it’s another universe, another place to expose your book and yourself as an author. Never forget, authors buy books as well as write them.
  6. Unofficial reviews work. If you have friends who’ve read your book or sneak peek chapter of it (no matter where it is in its process; finished, looking for critique or in the high polish lane) and they love it, get them to say so. Ask them to comment on your blog, or talk about it on Twitter. Ask them to write a guest blog review or tell their friends what they think. Nothing gets more ears perked than when a discussion about a book spontaneously happens on Twitter between a few people. They might mention one of your characters, you will respond, someone else chimes in with a comment then before you know it, someone asks what this is all about and the ball rolls further. Ask for written reviews every time someone reads you work and use those comments to expose the fact that you’re writing a book people really like! This is a perfect thing to put on your book website too, as well as on your author website. Of course, as real reviews come in after you really do make the best sellers list, you will always look fondly on the reviews that came before it was even finished.
  7. FREE!!! January Magazine. BookBuzzer. Whispers of the Muse. And there are many, many more. What are they? Free or extremely inexpensive ways to get exposure for your book, about your book and in some cases, your book doesn’t even have to be published yet. Take a day and explore the internet for free tools to create an exposure for you as a writer and your book in the works. Write eZines and blogs or even guest blogs about the writing process. Create venues to share the frustrations and thrills of your journey. Nothing wrong with a writers’ night out or online pub (as in publication) crawl. Actively look for people to read sneak peeks chapters of your book and ask for feedback.

Getting exposure is easy. Keeping it going and growing is fun. All you need to do is be creative, keep your confidence and keep your focus! And maybe send yourself some flowers too.

PARADIGM WARRIORS

Author Success Coaching

Publicity Marketing Promotions

writerchef@sbcglobal.net

Author Success, A Well “Business Planned” Future

Lesson 1, But … I’m a Writer, Not a Businessperson

Lesson 2, Your Subject Hooks and Selling Handles

Lesson 3, How Long

Lesson 4, Author Platform and Book Platform

Lesson 5, Target Markets


Tweet Success!

The Following is a wonderful guest blog by The Email Doctor, Jane Dominguez, CPA and owner of The Write Business Advantage. This is information we all need!

Twitter? Me? I resisted the recommendations of friends and business associates to try Twitter for as long as I could. Finally, decided that maybe they couldn’t all be wrong, so last spring I cautiously dipped my toe into the unknown. Less than a year later more than 8,000 people are following me.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started, no clue what I would find. Would anyone follow me? Why would anyone follow me?  I understand that people that like to follow celebrities, well-known experts, but why would they follow me? The first time someone retweeted (repeated and shared with the people who follow them), and someone else complimented one of my business writing tips, I was thrilled, and hooked.

Why are more than 8,000 people following me? Thanks to people sharing information on Twitter, I found many good articles in my early days of tweeting to help me get started.  I followed the advice to create my own persona, establish my area of expertise, and to share useful information. I began to develop ways to deliver my writing tips in 140 characters or less. One of my most popular recurring posts are: fat-free business writing tips: Fat-free business writing. Replace this: despite the fact that, with this: although. These tips are so popular that if I don’t post one for a few days I will get messages from followers asking where they are.

The second good bit of advice was to find people to follow that you were interested in, that have something in common with you, or perhaps tweet about a topic that intrigues you. Usually, when you follow them, they will follow you back. Now you have access to another expert, someone sharing useful information, or someone who makes you laugh. The lists that people can create on Twitter have made this even easier. Look at the lists that some of your favorite Twitter folks are included on, and you will find many other experts or people interested in the same subjects.

Develop relationships with the people you are connected with on Twitter. Engage them with a comment on their post, ask a question, compliment their website or Twitter profile. I am quick to retweet other people’s information, and usually stick to posts related to business writing, speaking, and training. Although a few people haven’t gotten the message, most people aren’t interested in what you had for breakfast, or what line you are standing in, but they do enjoy learning more about you, they want to know the person too. I’m always happy to join a conversation about chocolate. I remember one tweet that drew a lot of reaction, mainly people asking for my address: Puppy napping, quail strutting, lizards sunning, hummingbirds feeding, butterflies visiting, birds singing, pool sparkling—work, what work?

Courtesy is one of the first things I noticed and continue to appreciate on Twitter. People are quick to say thank you for repeating one of their tips, a link to useful article, or their latest blog post. When one person recommends another person to their group, a thank you usually follows.

My real success on Twitter is not the number of people following me, but the amazing people I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet any other way. I have made terrific business connections, and am currently collaborating with a software trainer to deliver better business writing webinars for her clients. A company that creates business-writing manuals asked me to provide consulting services as they update and revise their material. I have booked numerous speaking engagements simply because people found my information useful. The resources I have found from what other people share is material I wouldn’t have found on my own, or had time to find. If I need information or help with something, people are quick to provide assistance. Feedback on tweets provide instant market research. The number of comments or retweets of a particular post let me know what topics people are interested in, and was a great help when creating my business email tip booklet. The number of people reading my blog articles has sky-rocketed thanks to Twitter. Twitter associates tell me they print the articles to save, share them with their office teams, and even use them as the basis of staff training meetings.

Create your own persona. Tweet about something useful, of interest. Share your passions, share good information, share your frustrations and successes, or make us laugh. Nurture your Twitter relationships, you will be rewarded with more than you gave.

Jane Dominguez, CPA

jane@writebusinessadvantage.com

www.writebusinessadvantage.com

http://betterbusinesswritingadvantage.wordpress.com/ (blog)

www.twitter.com/WriteAdvantage