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5 Things I’ve Learned About Writers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!


True Marketing Power for Authors: Where are Your Book Buyers?

The more books published, the more venues for selling books and the more variety of quality and subgenres, one would think there are that many more book buyers – but where are they? I’ve herd this question from all my Author Success Coaching clients and I wonder if all authors and writers get lost in the quagmire of something I call … Narrow Marketing Vision.

Yes, Narrow Marketing Vision is real and it can be as deadly as the plague for authors desperate to gain fans and book buyers. The solutions are in so many places but the problem is that most writers simply aren’t looking in those places.

Today I’m beginning a blog series designed specifically designed to cure Narrow Marketing Vision and help you identify the plethora of unique marketing paths available to you.

In this blog I’ve covered Cross Marketing, Platform Building and the importance of creating a Book Business Plan. I’ve outlined skills for marketing, publicity and promotions. But this time I want to get very specific and break through the walls that hold authors back from reaching the sales numbers they seek. It all starts with what’s inside your head and what’s inside your book. It’s simple and complex, it’s eye-opening and powerful, but most of all, it will show you how and where to approach readers in places other authors aren’t thinking about. Instead of pinpointing the obvious (and severely overused) marketing tricks and strategies, this series will widen the landscape of possible readers and show you a few powerful ways to reach them.OVER THE NEXT EIGHT WEEKS WE WILL COVER

  • Coming out from under the Narrow Marketing Vision rock
  • Looking away from the directions other authors are using and overusing
  • Dissecting your own manuscript to find your new prospective readers
  • Understanding how to approach a new market
  • Testing your new marketing for effectiveness
  • Keeping the momentum going in your favor
  • Spinning off a new marketing campaigns from a successful campaign

We’re going to have some fun. Following through will present a little hard work, but you’re going to free yourself from the “me too” and “ohh that looks cool” approaches to your market in favor of creative and exciting strategies for sales success. With so many books in the world, published so many ways and available in so many venues, you’ll never again have to wonder where the book buyers for your particular books really are!

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!


Marketing Authors … Build a Better Mousetrap!

We all know the rigors of being an author. We have to plot the story, develop the characters, write the book and find publication. That’s the fun part. Now – thanks to drastic shifts in the publishing industry – we also have to market, promote and publicize the book. Scary stuff, especially for the unique race of creative souls called “writers”. It’s just not in our reclusive DNA to go so far, but what choice do we have?

There are wonderful ideas everywhere, books on basic marketing and promotion skills, workshops on platform building and every producer of the dreaded “sparklies” is lurking inside our computer screen ready and willing to help us out. With just a few clicks of a cursor you too can have lovely imprinted mugs or fancy book videos. You may need these things, you may want these things, but oh how confusing it all can get.

And there’s the big question. Does this stuff work? We network with other authors who do contests and giveaways. Do those work? We even imitate some of the strategies we see … but are those strategies actually creating book sales?

The truth of the matter is that without book sales, real author success is out of reach. It’s all good, every technique, every promotion, every contest. It’s all very important too, because you must be visible and active, but if you are still not getting the results you want, what can an author do?

Simple. It’s time to build a better mouse trap. To do that you need better materials, you need to place your trap in better locations and you must seed it with better cheese.

Promotion is important but have you looked carefully at how you create your promotions? Are they based on the success stories and events other authors are doing … or are they based on what’s inside your manuscript? For example, if you’re giving away a free book on facebook, so is every other author with a facebook account. BUT … if your main character is a gardener suspected of murdering the dead man found beneath her petunias … and you do a book giveaway to online gardening groups and communities in addition to your Facebook friends and fans … now you’ve expanded your reach in a big way!

Think about this. There are hundreds of gardening groups and communities on facebook, twitter and yahoo all over the internet. There are more in your real life communities. Imagine one little tweak to your promotions that includes this entire new audience and what it can do for you. Look at all the new fans you’ll meet, new places where you can introduce your book to and offer book giveaways whether online or in live speaking engagements.

This small adjustment can easily represent hundreds of sales for you … and all because you did what all the other authors do, but did it with a broader, more unique brush stroke. You made sales from the marketing magic right inside your manuscript. Your promotions are now personal, powerful and part of a much, much better mouse trap!

What’s inside your manuscript that can make your marketing, promotions and publicity seriously stand apart, and where can you find new targets for your strategies?

To help you create more exciting approaches, I’d like to offer anyone who would like one, a FREE 10 Tools for Author Success PDF handbook! Just go to The Author Success Coach website and download!

Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power Within Your Manuscript can be found

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Authors! Three Tips for Keeping Your Marketing Momentum

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

Guess what? We have to do it anyway.

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

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

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

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

TIP NUMBER ONE – FIND A NEW ROUTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIP NUMBER TWO – CHANGE THE ODDS

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

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

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

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

TIP NUMBER THREE – LOOK OUTSIDE

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

Wrong.

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

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

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

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

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


The Eight Desperations of a Struggling Author

And all this time you thought becoming an author would be fun? Just for kicks and giggles, I thought I’d take a stab at the eight worst habits of the published and about to be published author.  (Good thing we’re not all like this!)

Desperate are the poor of spirit, for theirs is the hell of the hopeful without guts or a plan.

Desperate are they who gripe, for they learn nothing from the rejection form letter.

Desperate are the meek, for soft-spoken is less effective than a powerful voice.

Desperate are those who hunger for the pat on the back. Ain’t coming.

Desperate are the merciless, for they “borrow” ideas and audience but will forever suffer being unoriginal.

Desperate are the clean of chart, for without sharp strategy nothing is accomplished.

Desperate are the friend-makers, for they will forget to seek out genre fans and book buyers.

Desperate are those who persecute their fellow authors, for they will be friendless and ignored at important tradeshows.

 Your thoughts?