Tag Archives: promotions

4 TOOLS FOR THAT SCARY AUTHOR MARKETING STUFF

confused 4As authors, our biggest conundrum isn’t coming up with ideas, plots, or characters. It’s marketing. It’s so easy to label marketing as difficult, not in our wheelhouse, and an activity we creative people simply do not recognize. However, marketing is everything we already know. Marketing is extremely creative and done right, totally connected with the wonderful book (fiction or nonfiction) that we’ve written. It’s all a matter of dropping our distaste for marketing and giving it a real chance. After all, marketing is the nerdy one in the corner wearing thick glasses, the kind we super creative types seldom spend serious time with. Go on. Take a shot. It could be sales success at first sight.

Like any first date, there needs to be a few ground rules. First, forget everything you thought you knew about marketing. Second, open your mind to concepts you haven’t heard before from any your author friends. And third, be focused and consistent in your marketing efforts. Really, really consistent.

Here are four tools to help you find real author marketing success in 2016.

Other AuthorsSTOP MARKETING TO OTHER AUTHORS – Yes, I do understand. Other authors are our friends. We love the support and camaraderie, the emotional and creative help, and especially the feeling that we’re not in this alone. That’s all wonderful and very nice, but have you ever really thought about this from a marketing point of view? First of all, other authors are your competition. And when it comes to marketing, they seldom, if ever, know any more about marketing than you do. Keep in touch with other authors for writing craft and support, but strategically step away for marketing.

I know that authors do buy books, but spending a majority of your time and effort marketing to other authors will never get you to the top ten sellers list. Trust me, Hershey’s Chocolate marketing executives aren’t hanging out with Mars Candy marketing executives on Facebook sharing promotional strategies. Step away from other authors. Eliminate them from your twitter and Facebook accounts. Stop promoting your books on FB groups loaded with, and targeted to, other authors.

Real marketing is about identifying audience and connecting with them. The first step is to stop surrounding yourself with the competition. Recognize marketing as the success tool to create awareness for your book and gain sales.

Broader AudienceSEEK BROADER AUDIENCES – Okay, so now that you’ve purged all your author friends out of your twitter and Facebook accounts, who are you going to talk to? Well, eliminating the social part of social media will drastically open a lot of time for you to do some real marketing. The most important thing to do now is seek out broader audiences. We all know to join the book sales groups on Facebook, and follow all the book clubs and book reviewers on twitter. But there’s far more than that. You just need to think creatively – in relation to the book you wrote – to find them. Here are a few brief tips.

  • If your write Romance, remember, the biggest audience for romance is women. Not just women who love to buy romance books, but women in general. They love romance films, romance television shows, romance in travel, clothing, etc. In other words, while you’re joining Facebook groups for marketing, take a look at groups that talk about romantic things like dating, finding the perfect man, and fitting a dating life into the single parent life. Think of the reader of your romance as a woman with a whole life, not just a book buyer/reader life. Reach out to romance lovers on twitter through romance film accounts (just go to the romance film’s twitter account, and all films have a twitter account these days) then click on the followers. VOILA! You’ll see hundreds and hundreds of women who love romance. Follow, follow, follow and most will follow you back because your twitter account description will be about you and your romance book(s).
  • If you write Historical, seek out new friends and followers and groups that focus on the elements of that historical book. The clothing, the weapons, the parts of the world, the historic landmarks. Relate to a new audience that already loves what you’ve written in your book.
  • If you write nonfiction, how to, or memoir books, focus on the unique hooks within those books and target groups and audiences that are interested in those things. Think WIDE. If your book is about organizing your life, look for all the people who can benefit from this book—mothers, crafters, day care facilities, teachers, hobbyists—the list can be endless. You may not always find a Facebook group that directly targets your topic, so consider creating one. Think about speaking and doing book events at places that relate to your topic, like craft stores, pet shops, day care facilities, teachers group meetings. Step away from the norm. Be creative.
  • If your book is loaded with powerful imagery, no matter what the genre might be, consider using Pinterest. Create a board that is pinned with imagery that matches the feeling of your book—along with your own descriptions under those pinned pictures that relate to your story and a buy link for the book. Now you have something else to post instead of the tired old “buy my book” links on Facebook and twitter. Be sure to talk about your Pinterest board in all your unique hook connections. It’s visual, and that’s an added punch,
  • Whatever you write, fiction or nonfiction, can be extremely effective in the YouTube universe, but ONLY if you creatively stand out and apart. Boring book trailers are no longer effective, however, if you have one of your book’s characters write a diary and make it a series of YouTube 30 second videos, you can really catch attention. If you have written historic, focus on things in your book, like suits of armor or medieval weapons, explaining how they work, how they were used, and how masterful your characters are with them. BE CREATIVE. Use a talking sock puppet for a humorous book, have the entire 30 seconds focused on a Victorian pair of button down women’s boots or corset while you voice your 25 word pitch. Make people raise their brows and want to tell others about it. And of course, never forget to get your book cover and buy links on the closing frame.

Cross MarketingTHINK ABOUT CROSS MARKETING Cross marketing is sort of like using someone else’s money to make money, only in this case we’ll be using someone else’s audience to sell books. Not another author’s audience, but an audience related to one of your book’s unique hooks. This is something really cool with the potential for great ales success.

For example, if there is a dog in your book, a dog that plays a big part in the plot (not a stray that sows up once on page 23), dog lovers can be a major audience for you. Think about everything people do with and for their dogs. They go to dog parks, use doggie training schools, doggie day care, pet supply stores, and so much more. For this strategy you need to step away from the book world and think completely about your unique hook. A great technique is to locate an online healthy dog food website and contact the company about contributing content for that website. You would write a 1,000 word monthly article about dogs for their website, and in return they would permit you to post your book cover and buy link. It’s a win/win. They get monthly creative content that keeps their customers coming back for the next article, and you get access to all their dog loving audience.

This works with any unique hook—coffee, cigars, antiques, vintage clothing, pets, candy, horses, music, anything!

CharitiesCONSIDER CHARITY CONNECTIONSHere’s a simple tip to seriously help your bottom line, but it only works when the chosen charity is deeply connected with the elements and unique hooks in your book. You can do this three ways.

  • First, simply donate a portion of your annual sales to a unique hook related charity. Make sure this is stated on your book cover and your website, and make note of it in your blogs and social media.
  • Second, find out what fund raising activities the unique hook charity holds in your area during the year and simply participate in the event. Donate a reading basket loaded with copies of your books, coffee mugs and a pound of coffee. Or offer to speak and do a book sale/signing at the event with a portion of your sales going to the charity. Make sure to promote the event.
  • Third, create an entire event to support the charity. Notify the local media and communities and have a lot of fun with it. The charities are always supportive of these events and you will get a lot of visibility, as well as do something good for a charity you care about.

There you are; four powerful  tools for author marketing success in 2016. Questions? I’m here to help.

Deborah Riley-Magnus, The Author Success Coach

Write Brain/Left Brain: Bridging the Gap Between Creative Writer Author

Write Brain.Left Brain


3 PASSIONATE STEPS TO AUTHOR MARKETING SUCCESS!

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

LoveSTEP 1 – LOVE

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

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

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

Spread the LoveSTEP 2 – SPREAD THE LOVE

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

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

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

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

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

Make more loveSTEP 3 – MAKE MORE LOVE

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

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

 Write Brain.Left Brain

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

Finding Author Success 2nd edition

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

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

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


AUTHOR MARKETING MISCONCEPTION NUMBER 2: MARKETING DOESN’T WORK

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

Get the book sales you want!


Write Brain.Left Brain

AVAILABLE NOW!

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

Finding Author Success 2nd edition

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

 

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

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


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

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

 Get the book sales you want!

 Write Brain.Left BrainAVAILABLE NOW!

From Motivational Press!

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

 

Finding Author Success 2nd edition

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

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

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


3 WAYS TO GO DOWN THE AUTHOR MARKETING RABBIT HOLE

rabbit hole

I’ve always found that the easiest way to talk about marketing with authors is to take the whimsical approach. It helps to show the creative side of this so-called monster, and makes the author comfortable with this challenging and sometimes overwhelming task. Like learning to cook or sew, it all starts with exploration. We learn how to use a knife, how to choose fabrics, and how to create something delicious or beautiful. It’s how we learned to write. A story seed drops into the mind and the creative juices take over. Marketing is no different. Every new and exciting thing we try requires taking a leap of faith. Learning how to  ride a bike, how to run a marathon, how to knit or raise children are all pretty much the same. Learning new things, the rules that govern those activities or results, and exploring ways to be the best at it is just part of human nature.

Unfortunately, most authors look at marketing as a foreign concept designed to interrupt or corrupt the creative writing mind. Not so at all. Great marketing is a creative process, just like great writing. It generates excitement in the creator as well as those viewing the marketing efforts. It connects prospective readers to your book and all the wonderfulness you put into it. The only difference between writing a great book and marketing a great book is that to write it, the author had no fear of leaping willingly down the rabbit hole.

Now, it’s time to consider taking that leap again … this time to create great, powerful, and super creative marketing to help get more sales for your book.

Here are 3 ways you can take that leap down the Author Marketing Rabbit Hole to find solutions you might have thought were too difficult to locate or implement. In that rabbit hole are all the answers! Be brave and jump right on in with me!

Alice 1ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Willingly take the Courageous Plunge

Alice might have been bored, she might have been curious, or she might have even been rebellious; all three qualities work great for an author afraid of marketing. Like Alice, you need to follow an idea all the way down the rabbit hole before you can actually see how it can work for you and your book.

Being brave is not new to authors. You had the courage to write your idea on paper and watch it go out into the world. The rules of marketing involved locating the right audiences for your book, creating a bond with those prospective book buyers, and allowing those buyers to make the purchase. None of this is familiar to authors, but those things are techniques easily learned.

For now, take that brave soul that helped you write your book and jump! Take the leap and let ideas flow and clatter, crash and burn, meld and explode. Do this for fifteen or twenty minutes every few days. Sit quietly and slip down the rabbit hole. Imagine yourself as the customer and think about what touches you, connects with you, compels you to make a purchase of anything…not just a book. Explore the creative and not so creative marketing approaches you’ve seen for everything from cleaning products and car advertisements, to commercials for burial plots and coffee creamer. Let these thoughts come and go. Don’t be analytical, just feel. What emotion made you want to buy a product or hire a service? Which promotions entertained you? Which movie trailers made you want to run and buy a ticket, and which commercials or billboards made you smile, but gave you no desire to react to the offer. Marketing is going on all around you. Let it all play in your quiet space for a few quiet moments, then simply let it go.

This is the true essence of dropping down the rabbit hole. Because you let the concepts and ideas simply flow across your brain, subconsciously your brain snagged a few that will stick with you. Because you didn’t think hard and worry or put the concepts under a microscope, the process has a chance to become second nature. You’ve just introduced your mind to the creative marketing process by allowing it to observe what made you feel and what entertained. This is the truth of marketing.

By willingly slipping down this rabbit hole, you will discover that marketing is a) less scary than you thought, b) far more creative that you imagined, and c) needs an emotional connection to work. Bravo. After just a few rabbit hole sessions, you will have learned far more about marketing that you would have by reading a hundred books or listening to a thousand other authors. You’ll also discover that you no longer need to sit quietly to do this, it will become a constant little wheel turning in your mind all the time.

queen 2QUEEN OF HEARTS – Use Strategy

This approach to the rabbit hole is very different. The queen sits at the bottom of the hole and waits to see what will drop into her queendom. Before it even arrives, she’s got a plan.

Are you a planner? Does blindly following Alice down the rabbit hole terrify you? Are you the kind of person who packs for a vacation weeks ahead of time, repacks various items, and watches the weather at your vacation destination like a hawk? The Queen of Hearts doesn’t like surprises, so she has a plan for everything, even a wayward author falling into her grasp.

If you want to use strategy for marketing, you have to first of all acknowledge that the marketing rabbit hole exists. It’s the hallway to success and you will need to take that path. Instead of jumping in and letting ideas flow, you may want to plan for what may come up. For example, if you are specifically seeking a way to approach a particular audience—lovers of motor cycles because that is a primary unique hook within your story—introduce that into your mind before you start your quiet slide down the rabbit hole. You’ll be amazed how many concepts will slip and slither past your thoughts and how many directions to that audience become clearly visible during a quiet marketing rabbit hole session. It’s all about guiding your subconscious toward your goal. Like Alice, you’ll get better and better at seeing the solutions as you familiarize yourself with this process. A strong strategy will point your mind in the right direction.

hatter 1MAD HATTER – Learn the Lay of the Land

Here’s one crazy dude, but the Mad Hatter is a perfect tour guide for the marketing world at the bottom of the rabbit hole. He’ll show the right and wrong paths to take—he just might not always guide you correctly. Mad Hatter is all about making mistakes and laughing about it as you turn around and try another direction. He’s all about making it okay to fail, and making success all the sweeter because of the journey.

I clearly understand that many authors want to know the lay of the land before they proceed. These are the serious researchers, the detail people, and the authors who make a strong book business plan before moving ahead with a project. Learning the lay of the marketing world isn’t hard, but it is a convoluted path that can, like Mad Hatter, easily lead you down a hundred wrong roads before you locate the right one. Here’s the trick—every path is right, but only for the right author. What works for one authors and sells thousands of books, may crash and burn for another author.

Marketing for a book is as personalized as the author’s taste in Indian food. It all varies. Learning the lay of the land could mean reading hundreds of books on marketing, taking workshops and classes, and asking every marketing professional who’ll listen and answer your questions. One technique could be a gold mine for one book, but not work at all for the next book. Twitter alone might be a boon for one genre and author but for another, three different networks working in harmony may be required. Understanding what works best for you and your book requires taking everything learned from the resource you use…then taking the leap down the rabbit hole for creative ideas. Everything you learned from your resources will help strategize the creative solutions you discover on your journey. You already have an idea of the terrain, so when a wonderful, creative marketing concept emerges for your book, you can apply everything you know to create the sales you want.

Just remember, the Mad Hatter loves to laugh, so laugh with him when something doesn’t work. Be ready to create your own hybrid of marketing techniques that will work for your book. Oh, and have fun!

white rabbit 2So there you have it. 3 Ways to go down the author marketing rabbit hole. Which way will you take the plunge?

 Write Brain.Left BrainAVAILABLE NOW

 

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

 

Finding Author Success 2nd edition available in print & ebook Amazon, B&NKobo

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors available in print & ebook Amazon, B&N & Kobo


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

Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write Brain.Left Brain

AVAILABLE NOW

Finding Author Success Second Edition available in print and ebook

Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors available in print and ebook

Amazon print, Amazon Kindle and B&N

 


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: 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!