Thursday, September 29, 2016

Persistence + pressure = Yippee!


For the first time in almost two years we are finally on the up side of business growth. Persistence + pressure = Yippee! What people believe is "overnight success" is really that formula come to fruition. I don't know anyone who can announce from the rooftops they are an overnight success. People see it that way. The media lauds it like lightning in a bottle, but the reality is that's all "bunk" (as Chris says).
So how did I manage to avoid driving Uber as my income supplement LOL? Remember that one? I pondered driving Uber for about a day and a half. Do you know why I put that random thought away? I am about to share the greatest lesson any businessperson or author could ever hear:
If you have a fall-back option you will undoubtedly fall back!
Don't give yourself a safety net! Don't do it. Don't think it. Don't consider it. Don't create it. Once you've launched a business or a book never, ever go backward. Set your sights ahead and move toward your vision without distraction. When you give yourself absolutely no "get-out-of-jail free cards" you won't use them.
Human nature leads us toward the course of least resistance. If you're on a road full of rocks and blocks and it becomes hard to get from point A to point B, chances are that little side road that looks all nice and smooth will become a growing temptation. Once tempted then you know how that story goes, right? Now you're all naked and aware in the Garden of Eden (that's a joke, but an essential truth). If money is involved and your money troubles are suddenly solved (and money is the temptation) it will make it even easier to stay right where you are at - and that's when your dream has "poof" gone!
Staying on the rocky road requires application of aforementioned formula: persistence + pressure = Yippee! I promise you one thing. You will fail if you allow it. You will succeed if you keep going. One way or the other you will earn the payoff. Maybe the payoff won't look exactly like you expected, but it will be without a doubt in the direction you wanted to go. And it won't be on the side road to nowhere.
What do I mean by persistence? Don't stop pushing. Don't stop promoting. Don't stop trying. For authors it means:
Post on social media (all social media) daily. Give yourself goals to post on every relevant social media spot something about your book. Use Goodreads to promote your book. Create fan pages. Tweet. Do something every single day. Send personal messages to individual "friends" and let them know your book is out and where to purchase it. Post links to book reviews and other press mentions.
Use book reviewer lists and give yourself daily goals. Promote minimally to five book reviewers per day. Do it every single day and start over with the follow up.
Connect with independent bookstores to carry your book. Set up book signings and then promote those book signings to the regional press. At the very least you should be able to get on the Calendar of Events. Now promote those signings on your social media.
Create a blog and post on it minimally 3-4 times a week. Post excerpts from your book. Write about the experiences you're having as an author. Share crazy moments. But share and share often. Use Google index to index your blog.
Create a newsletter like this one to promote your book to a mailing list you've built as you've met people interested in the book. Send it out with excerpts or even ideas about literature and maybe even your favorite authors or movies.
Attend book festivals to promote your book. Pitch to be a featured speaker to the organizers. Make bookmarks as business cards to hand out. Leave a sign-up sheet to capture email addresses to promote your newsletter to interested parties.
Offer your book to book clubs at a greatly reduced discount to their members to sweeten the opportunity. Ask them to post their reviews on Amazon.
Give away books to people in exchange for Amazon reviews.
Go through this list and keep doing all of those promotional activities. Don't stop! Combine your efforts with writing another book. So, one book's sales dove tail into another book's sales. Don't ever forget: persistence + pressure = Yippee.
Now go say "Yippee"!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Marketing Mix that Sells Books

I never tell clients to do anything I am not willing to do. When I encourage my clients to market, market, market and never stop marketing, it's because I don't let my own promotion wane. Whether it's a book you're trying to make a best seller or a product or service that you're trying to sell, you have to continually market it. Few businesses enjoy momentum without pressure. Once in a while a company can't keep up with its growth. They cut down on marketing because they can't keep up with demand. And while that sounds like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it can also cause a slow death. You have to find a middle ground to handle business growth. You have to find a scale-able business model that works when things are growing fast, and it doesn't kill your company if things slow down.
 
When it comes to independent book publishing I've noticed an interesting business model that seems to work effectively for self-help books. Having been through a divorce and end of a 22-year marriage followed by a couple of botched relationships, I began to read up on how to have a successful relationship. I subscribed to Christian Carters thrice-weekly newsletter. I really admire Carter's business model. He has a catalog of relationship-related books, videos and workshops. I read his newsletter religiously and enjoy it. While I don't always agree with him, I like his "style".
 
Carter has developed his own cottage industry of relationship books. He also publishes two senior psychologists' book and another one written by a woman named Rori. In either case, he mixes up their newsletters with his own under his brand. The senior writers don't interest me. Rori at times kind of interests me, but overall it's Carter who steals the show. It's his brand. What seems to be working for him are the nonstop articles he posts on his website on relationships, the consistent and outgoing newsletters, and his videos. I personally don't like his videos. They are too infomerical-like.
 
Carter though has set the standard and created an industry that works for him. I have purchased one of his books. His main strategy is using (much like I do with this newsletter) education-based marketing. He is extremely generous in the information he sends each week. He doesn't give you a skimpy "tease" to lure you into buying his products. He really shares a chunk of information. Because he shares so much, you really learn a lot from him. He takes the point-of-view that I have adopted:
 
Give away as much information as possible. Lure them in with your expertise. Understand the average person cannot do what you do. They will appreciate and admire your expertise and somewhere down the road invest in you.
 
Information-based marketing is an excellent brand-building technique. Carter uses it. It's obvious he's been successful doing it. He's not afraid to really share with his audience. More concerned authors would protect their "intellectual capital" and not share so readily. This limited thinking prescribes to the idea that people will just use this information and not do business with you. It's simply not the case, especially in an area that is not someone's expertise. And even if they never invest a nickel in your company, chances are they will refer a friend.
 
Now for you authors out there, apply this to your fiction or nonfiction books. Many authors (including the guy who wrote The Martian) got their start doing "fan fiction". They published their books first on their blogs, which anyone could read for free. As their "fans" became their followers the book became popular and eventually got published and made into a movie. He initially gave away his book. This giveaway didn't stop people from eventually buying the book. The book 50 Shades of Grey got its start this way too.
 
Don't be afraid to give away free books or post free chapters. You will build interest - even if you giveaway the entire book, people will still want to actually buy the whole thing.
 
Now I have to go back to my "slice of bed" and give my beautiful big man some loving and tenderness. Did you know touch is a very important part of healing? Yes, it's true. I cracked up because we were "canoodling" when the nurse came in and turned on the light. I don't know what she thought since we weren't doing anything I wouldn't do in public, but it cracked me up. She literally "giggled," covered her mouth, and said, "Excuse me." LOL Okay...

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Works When it Comes to Book Sales?


What about those blog tours for book promotion? I wonder about those tours and whether or not they lead to any kind of success. The authors I know who have done them have not seen a demonstrative increase in book sales. If you have done one and it helped your sales I would love to hear your story.

The most success I’ve seen when it comes to book sales has been in nationwide exposure. So, let me share what I’ve seen work.

Nationwide exposure in one key media can make a best seller. The word here is key media. I’ve seen books enjoy national exposure in some major media, but if that media outlet doesn’t reflect the right demographic for your book, it will generate only a small handful of sales. A book promoted to the right media that reached the “sweet spot” of your demographic can produce in a single promotion a best seller. So a national spot in and of itself won’t necessarily produce results. It has to be the right media placement to the right audience.

Collective exposure to key media can produce results. The media outlets may not have a huge following, but when combined together and the right, the results can produce a best seller. One key media might produce a nice chunk of sales and then another media exposure right after that one can do the same. Collective exposure tends to produce sustained sales. So your book might start off slowly but with each new exposure then sales will grow on top of each other. This approach in my opinion is the most desirable. You want ongoing, long-term sales rather than a quick spike in sales that goes away. Authors often believe that one key exposure and the remarkable results will last. Then they are confused when it doesn’t last more than a month at best. So, the best approach is to cast a broad net and hope to catch many medium-sized fish.

Friday, September 16, 2016

How do you want your book perceived?


People’s perceptions of your business or book for that matter determine whether they will give you enough credibility to work with you or buy your product. When it comes to publishing, realize that people perceive information in a blink of an eye. I think the book Blink addresses this point. I run into authors all of the time who don’t understand why low-rent self-publishing services often don’t serve their success. I know as a consumer I can tell when a book looks cheap and printed by one of those repo-cheapo printers. Little things tell the tale. Stapled binding, flimsy paper, stock graphics – all of these things send a message you may not want people to perceive.

One of the most important things we strive for at 3L Publishing is excellence. As authors we have enough challenges in the marketplace to overcome without adding to it. If your book automatically looks cheap how does that affect sales? I’ll walk you through it.

Book reviewers are deluged with books. Your book needs to immediately stand out to get noticed. It’s human nature to discern quality and “perceive” cheaply done, self-published books as low quality. I’m not saying all self-published books that look cheap don’t have great content. I’m addressing public “perception” of books. Even if a reviewer might not say it, they’ve perceived it. This one handicap alone can stunt interest. Being overlooked by the reviewers for any reason whatsoever is a strike against future sales.

Consumers will question the content’s credibility if the book looks cheap. I know so many authors right now are saying, “Boo”. I get it. Content is supposed to be king. Who cares if my book isn’t sexy and visually appealing? Again, while the argument is valid it doesn’t address human nature. We have automatic reactions and beliefs about certain things. Again, the idea is to not create another barrier to your success.

And to close on a funny point: I once bought a book on Amazon that not only was loaded with editorial mistakes, but the author didn’t even include back cover copy. What a missed opportunity. One of your strongest marketing points is the back-cover copy. Her book’s back cover was blank. I was gob-stopped when I saw it. I wanted so bad to write her a letter offering my editorial services to fix the dozens of editorial mistakes, but also to write some bad-ass copy for the cover. Wow! Who was her publisher? Oh! She self-published … AND another reason to work with a professional who knows what he or she is doing. No smart publisher would EVER leave the back cover blank … I’m just saying.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Coaching the Creative Process


I had an interesting conversation with my best friend's teenage daughter about writing. Gena who is exceptionally bright excels especially in math and science. I was urging her to pursue a career in this male-dominated field and make her mark as a remarkable female. I strongly believe we need to push our girls in the math and science areas. My own daughter Cambria loves geology and science, but she's also extremely creative. While we were talking the subject of English vs. math came up. It was interesting how (like many people) Gena saw English as being more open to interpretation and not as "black and white" as math.
 
I've thought about this a lot since I am an editor and writer. What most people don't realize is that grammar is finite. Once you determine your style rules (AP Style, Chicago Style, Strunk and White), you then have to play by those rules. Grammar though while driven by different styles is precise. I sometimes think people believe the comma is like a wandering object LOL (you can place it anywhere), but that isn't true either. Commas have rules too. If you see a "wandering" comma it's because the person isn't using it correctly or consistently.
 
What I explained to Gena is the creativity isn't necessarily in the grammar - the creativity comes from the writing process and storytelling (depending whether it's fiction or nonfiction). Your story and ideas are used as part of the creative process. Yet even in narrative and storytelling, it's still a black and white world consisting of structure. What I teach in my workshops is a critical ingredient to structure and being creative with it. I teach two things:
 
You can't break the rules unless you know the rules. This tip applies to a lot of things, but in writing if you want to break structure and organization, it's important that you understand what exactly you're breaking. If you stumble through your storytelling process then the unorganized array of thoughts and story become apparent to the reader who then doesn't understand your story. For example, if you're going to break the structure of how you write each chapter, you need to know what is the original structure and then knowingly play with it. The no. #1 question to keep in mind is whether it's making sense. So if you're telling a linear story in a particular chapter and decide to switch it back in time, you need to use what I call "sign posts" to let your reader know you're switching to the past or future. Simply switching backward and forward without any indication in the narrative of what you're doing will confuse the reader.
 
Only those seasoned professionals shall trespass. What do I mean? When I work with new writers and they're trying to be daring with their first book I always warn them to only try what their skills allow. Again, know the rules to break them. Once broken make sure it makes sense. If you're new and you don't know exactly how to bend the rules in a creative way that makes sense, maybe you're first book isn't the place to challenge your talents. Now if a writer can adeptly take the challenge of doing a book in a whole new style - great. I more commonly though see writers who toy with the idea of "messing" with the creation of a unique narrative. When they give me the uncertain look of "how do I do this?" I will redirect them back to traditional narrative until that look goes away. It's very hard to teach a new writer a difficult writing trick. So save the trickier writing for the day when you don't have to ask, "How do I do this?"
 
All right so you've read this far. Guess what? I am a book coach. All of the information I just shared I provide to my book coaching sessions. This year for regional authors, I now offer one-on-one private coaching sessions as part of the publishing services. The one-on-one coaching is the most enjoyable part of my job. When I see the authors' eyes light up with that a-ha moment, I find it gratifying. If you don't live here I do conference coaching and Facetime too.
 
If you're interested in working with me as your personal book coach, please contact me at info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.
 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Guarantee this One Thing Will Grow Your Sales


Hello First Word Friend-Os. True to the words of Mr. Chris Carter, what a difference a day makes. It also proves my theory that "outflow gets in flow". Just last week I was considering driving Uber to supplement my projects since it had been slow the last month or so. Of course when I told my daughter I was going to drive Uber she objected. "Mom! Someone will kidnap you! You're too pretty!" LOL ... Okay, well I'm fairly certain there are many "pretty" Uber drivers out there who are safe and sound. You have to give it to Cambria for her dramatic flair. I may just drive Uber anyway here and there for fun. Chris said I could write a book of stories about the people I meet. So back to 3L Publishing and books not driving...
 
So while marketing my little heart out my theory and Chris' sage wisdom all came together. I went from 0-100 in one day. My marketing and promotional efforts paid off. I'm sharing my story to teach you all the reality of business (and life). One day life is working one way and the next a completely different way. All of a sudden I was contacted to bid on a travelogue book loaded with pictures and two booklets. Then I received a call from an orthodontist interested in taking two chapters in the multi-author orthodontist book. By the time my weekend ended and some haggling in-between I had signed the two booklet project and the other projects are pending approval.
 
Closing these contracts alone will keep me busy through the New Year - and I won't have to "risk life and limb" to drive Uber LOL. So how did I dramatically turn it around just that fast? As I said, outflow gets inflow. The problem is many business people don't understand that the "inflow" part may not be directly connected to the "outflow" part. I always hear people when I'm doing their marketing and PR suggest my work isn't paying off. I will ask, "Is your business growing (or book selling)?" They say "yes" but the sales aren't coming directly from your activities - or so they think.
 
When you do marketing and PR outreach you're putting communication out into the world about your product or service. This communication goes out. People talk. Most of the time the sales lead will not come directly from the source of the communication. It's rather strange that way, but you can't always connect the dots like you would expect. Yet I always challenge people to stop doing marketing and PR and see what happens... (Now this is an expensive experiment I don't recommend). The answer is, it all stops. If you stop promoting and doing marketing your business growth will stop as fast as it started.
 
I can't explain this situation like a formula: A + B = C. All I know is from my 25 years of experience doing marketing and PR for various magazines and business divisions, this simple phrase "outflow get inflow" ALWAYS applies. I remember when I was publisher of a regional magazine. We wanted to grow our advertising base. Knowing I needed to increase outreach I added a monthly newsletter that was sent out to the advertisers. Strangely enough that one addition to our marketing program produced instant results - we began to grow. Now my staff poo-pooed it. No one gave that one act much credence, but when we examined what changed that one thing was part of the change.
 
Sometimes just one increase in your communication to your customers can increase your business.
 
What did I do to attract overnight business (or seemingly "overnight")? I increased communication!
 
First Word went to twice weekly. I noticed my readership had dwindled a bit. So, I looked for sweet spots (days when readership was at its peak) and began sending First Word out twice a week targeted toward those days.
 
I built a new mailing list to increase readership. I had let my mailing list become stale. So I looked for ways to add to my mailing list to do outreach to more people and spread the word about my services.
 
I increased my social media presence. Instead of focusing almost exclusively on Facebook and the fan page, I used Twitter a little more and added Linked-In to the mix. Of course here is a big tip:
 
I keep my social media messages on target for the audience. I don't post fun, cute things on Linked-In. I keep it professional. I post fun, cute things on Facebook. And Twitter ... one day I will figure out what makes Twitter audience's react.
 
I started looking on job sites for contract and project work I could bid on. I needed to get outside of my regular audience and find new people to work with. So, I decided to find steadier contract and project work to grow my business.
 
The lesson learned overall: stay the course and keep promoting. Don't give up on your goals and dreams because you're facing a few fallow days or weeks. TAKE ACTION! Yes, the sky can fall for a day or a few days or even weeks, but all it takes is one day to turn it all around. If you can remember what I'll call "the-one-day" formula it will boost your spirits. You might feel frustrated, but keep on taking action.
 
I live this formula! After the year I had, if I had caved in and given up I would be back working for corporate and feeling miserable. It has been very difficult, but I always apply my own lessons. So ... remember, "outflow gets inflow"!
 
Now go outflow away!

Monday, September 12, 2016

FAQ with New Author Stacey Cotter


What is the Harris Estate about?
Harris Estate is an alluring mystery that takes our protagonist, Leah Murphy, from San Francisco, California to Oakdale, Texas when she inherits a long abandoned ranch estate. A grisly discovery on the property sparks an investigation with local authorities, which opens up Pandora's box and everything Leah knew about her life is changed forever. During the trials and tribulations, her marriage is tested, her desires are amplified, and she has decisions to make that will affect everyone she loves.

Why did you write the book?
In January, my grandmother passed away at the age of 96. We celebrated her life and the love that she gave to all of us.  Like many people after losing someone special, I found myself analyzing my life, past, present and future. A week after the service, I was on a several-days-long road trip for work when I drove past an abandoned farmhouse.  My mind and imagination went into overdrive as I was curious what had taken place there over the past decades.  By the time I finished work and was checked into my hotel, I had a blank Word document in front of me begging for words. That night I wrote the first chapter of Harris Estate and had the entire novel written within just a few weeks. The story and words just poured out of me, sometimes faster than I could fathom.  Writing a novel was something that I had always wanted to do, but there was always an excuse or reason not to do it.

Who is your favorite character in the Harris Estate and why?
The story is centered around our lead character, Leah Murphy, who I would deem as my favorite character in Harris Estate.  Being a wife, mother and associate of a family-run IT Firm makes Leah a very busy, yet relatable character.  So many of us are constantly juggling various activities in our daily life, I felt that it was vital for our main character to be someone that we could all relate to. 

What theme in the book do you hope readers understand and take away from it?
I’m in hopes that the reader enjoys taking a wild ride that makes them question what they might do in the various scenarios that our characters are thrown into. My goal is for them to experience the same range of emotions:  shock, fear, humor, passion and vengeance. Harris Estate, is the type of book that allows you to escape the day-to-day stresses of life, and take you into another person’s life of challenges and personal strife.

This book is your first novel. What are your plans for the future?
Writing Harris Estate has opened up a door that I had always kept securely closed.  Taking the risk and finally jumping in with both feet, has freed my imagination and put it into overdrive.  Since the decision was made to publish, I have gone ahead and written several more stories.  Harris Estate, The Aftermath, is the sequel and the conclusion to Harris Estate.  That novel has already been written and it is in the final editing phase. Closure, a heart-wrenching novel of mystery and revenge, has been written and I am optimistic for release in 2017.   Finally, The Faithful One, is an in-depth philosophical novel that takes symbolism to another level and offers the reader a way to analyze their lives and how they live it.  That is currently in the works and more are coming to mind each and every day.

Where can readers buy a copy of the book?
It releases nationwide November 1 on Amazon in the print edition for $18.95. The eBook edition will be available in Kindle, Nook and iBook. Readers can also go to the 3L Publishing website at www.3LPublishing.com to get a copy.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Don't Make this Mistake When It Comes to Promoting Your Book


When it comes to public relations and promotion, the key to ongoing success is persistence. Don't let the newness and excitement of a new product or service wane after the shine has worn off. The most successful people whether business people or authors are the ones who don't stop promoting and networking and pushing. The shelf life of any product once it gets past the new promotion and launch is dependent upon the ongoing effort to keep it in front of the public and promote interest.
 
The no. #1 mistake I see almost every author I have ever worked with is this:
 
Losing interest in their own product and moving on to something new and exciting again.
 
I would say that at least 80 percent of the people I work with lose interest in their product/book after about six months. Interest is especially lost once the initial sales finish and the book must now stand on its promotional and marketing efforts to continue to sell. One of the key problems is something I will call "instant gratification syndrome". How does that work?
 
I've mentioned this before in previous issues. Sometimes in publicity efforts one review can do one of three things: 1. Trigger a sudden avalanche of sales if the review hits the target audience 2. Spark a small handful of sales or 3. Spark no interest at all. Here is my advice:
 
Don't stand vigil on Amazon and wait for your Amazon rankings to suddenly soar off one review. I promise you it can be disappointing.
 
When I first began this journey I used to do that very thing - stand vigil over my book's progress on Amazon. The shocker with the book Second Bloom is that despite a truckload of press, it never sold well via Amazon. The book had to find its way, meaning it sold well when I did speaking engagements and workshops.
 
I'm not suggesting you ignore your sales progress. You do need to be aware. Go about each book review, each interview, and every media exposure with the thought that it's great press. Don't get caught up in the often-disappointing cycle of watching Amazon like you would watch TV. Keep a casual eye on it. The nugget here is:
 
Try every possible avenue to promote your book/product and see which one catches on. Don't give up!
 
If I've learned nothing else about sales and marketing it's this: sometimes it won't catch on, but the opportunities it gives you are the real return on investment. If it does catch on, don't stop! You shouldn't stop until you've achieved market saturation. If you know anything about the product life cycle it goes like this: early adopters, second adopters and then market saturation. The goal is to keep it at the second adopters and maintain it. When you've achieved market saturation then you can sail on with a smile. All products run this life cycle, and that's why you see upgrades and new features introduced. The companies now want to take that same product back through a market life cycle.
 
So Friend-Os I hope you sail on through your product life cycle!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Harris Estate Launches at Avid Reader in Davis, CA


Book Launch: Sept. 17, 2016
Time: 1pm to 2pm
Location: Avid Reader
Address: 617 2nd St., Davis, CA
 
 A new author has emerged in the literary world by the name of Stacey Cotter who has penned a captivating mystery titled Harris Estate: Some secrets can’t be buried... This well-written and fast-paced novel reveals the story of a young woman named Leah Murphy who sets out to sell the family’s estate in Texas only to uncover many dark secrets that completely unravel her identity.

Harris Estate is loaded with tense intrigue as Leah Murphy learns more than she bargained for when she visits the decaying farmhouse estate. The novel is the frosh effort of Stacey Cotter who worked for many months to bring this story to print. Her writing style takes situations that on many levels might seem ordinary (exploring the estate or even sitting down for a meal) and flushes them out by creating layers of subtext and deeper meaning. The very nature of Leah finding out many family secrets that completely dismantle her identity and sense of self is reflected by her unexpected desires and newly formed connections she never expected to make.

What makes Harris Estate stand out from the mystery genre and make it dramatic is Cotter deepens the story to explore the character’s inner thoughts and feelings. The catalyst for Leah’s personal crisis comes from the mysteries uncovered in the Harris Estate; therefore the story while interesting and fresh isn’t the real heart of the book. The book’s true center revolves around Leah’s crisis of self and transformation as a woman. The revelations found at the Estate call into question her family legacy, as it rearranges Leah’s world. The question posed to the reader through Leah’s experiences, asks how would you react if this happened to you and you were put in this situation? The reader is led through her transformation as she questions, contemplates her life, and decides which course to take as she moves forward.

Cotter creates a relatable woman who faces a truly tragic personal crisis. The key is portraying Leah in the light of an average person, the woman next door or the neighbor up the street. In writing about a regular woman and putting her in unusual and life-changing circumstances, the reader can easily understand Leah’s feelings and dilemmas. While some of Leah’s choices might be questionable to the average reader no one could totally understand why she does what she does unless they were in the same situation.

Harris Estate is an intriguing must-read mystery. It releases nationwide on November 1, 2016. To receive a review copy, please send a request to info@3LPublishing.com. It will be available for pre-sales on the 3L Publishing website at www.3LPublishing.com. It can also be purchased in print on Amazon, and eBook versions for Kindle, Nook and iBook. To interview the author, email info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sometimes When It Comes to Marketing Timing is Everything


I learned an important lesson this week. I use a service called Help a Reporter Out (it’s free) to find subject matter experts or contacts for books. I have been recently gathering profiles for Dr. Lance Casazza for his forthcoming book Habits and Attitudes. A few weeks ago I posted a request for more profile participants. I got zero responses (that time). I was perplexed and wondered if I had drained the proverbial pond of opportunities from HARO as a source. So I gave it a few weeks and posted a second request and guess what? I got a flood of responses.

Wow! What they say about timing is absolutely dead-on right. Timing in marketing and promotion is everything. A powerful lesson here:

Don’t give up just because your first or even second shot at promoting your book, product or service doesn’t get results.

Who knows why I got zero responses the first time. I felt discouraged. I assumed (which really stands for “ass out of you and me”) … don’t assume anything. Assumptions are often not based on facts. Unless you know it for a fact then keep trying. I assumed I had drained my pool of potential participants because I had sent two other queries out via HARO. So when I did the third time and got no results, here is thought process that leads to fail points: based on not quantitative information just assumption I thought I wouldn’t meet our goal of 52 profiles. I was absolutely wrong and my next action proved it. I decided to wait a few weeks and try again. Voile! Success.

So Friend-Os lesson learned. You just don’t know what is influencing people’s interests at any given time. You have to keep trying. It may not happen on the day you tried, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility it could happen in the near future. There is power to right place, right time. The key though is:

If you’re not trying to be in the right place at the right time you miss the chance altogether.

So many clients will give up when their window of opportunity just doesn’t seem to come around. What I’ve learned without a doubt is that you have to keep trying. Believe me when I say as a business owner I have felt discouraged. In fact right at this very moment I’m facing some issues and a great need to attract more business. But I’ve learned that change can come in a day! You’ve heard the phrase “What a difference a day makes” – it’s true. My life partner Chris says this all of the time. You never know when it can all shift and change. He teaches me to try not to worry about it.

Don’t give up! Exercise patience. When you’re promoting your book, product or service, you just don’t know when that opportunity or shift will come. You could be like me and go from 0 to 20 in a matter of two weeks. One day you could be out and sell only a book and two weeks later you could sell 20 books and maybe another day later sell 200 books. The key is to understand that the marketplace is moody. It kind of has a mind of its own. Your goal is to keep your product in front of the market so when its mood shifts your direction you reap the rewards.

So stay in the game and win it!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book Promotion: Be a Crab Not a Starfish


When it comes to marketing anything be it a book or a product or service don’t be a starfish, be a crab. A starfish sticks to rocks and stays put. A crab scuttles along and even pinches once in a while. I would rather be a crab than a starfish that goes nowhere. Starfish wait and don’t do much. Some authors mistakenly believe if they wait a swell of readers will instantly not only find their books, but also bring in new swells of readers. The idea is passive – wait and see. A crab scuttles and looks for opportunities to create swells of readers. Crabs don’t sit. In fact crabs can move fast and get places.

Reality in any kind of marketing and promotion is being an active crab – doing things. Now sometimes with luck and fortune a swell will turn into a tidal wave (what we all hope to do). Even then if you want to keep the interest growing you can’t turn into a starfish. The inclination to sit back and watch the wave crash in and then wait for the next wave is passive, too. Even once you’ve attracted an audience you have to keep pushing.

For example, we had an author whose book finally hit big after being released over a year. The author had been promoting for quite sometime, but her big break finally came. The exposure from that one opportunity shot her book to no. #1 on Kindle and Amazon print. Her excitement soon turned her from a crab to a starfish. She sat back and enjoyed the success. Then several months later I got the question: “Why has my book stopped selling?” After some unsavory accusations that maybe I was the culprit behind her lack of sales (meaning they were there but I was taking them … wah, wah, wah as Chris would say), the evidence was revealed.

How did that happen? Well, once persistent promotion stops so does interest. One exposure in the media can indeed create that sudden swell of interest, but without the persistent exposure that one thing only lasts so long. So the lesson learned:

Overall success requires persistent, nonstop promotion. 
Stay a crab!

Now take another marketing technique called “the snowball effect”. You know how a snowball rolls downhill and gathers more snow and grows. I’ve seen many books with cumulative exposure that finally that tiny snowball turns into a massive ball. This works through multiple exposures to multiple media outlets. One big exposure only sometimes produces major results. Sometimes it takes A LOT of different exposure in different media to suddenly go from 0 to 100 seemingly overnight, but not really. This is why I teach authors this important lesson:

Big or small – you want as many stories and reviews about your book as you can get.

Never feel disappointed if you receive several small reviews. Keep going. Those smaller media outlets can ultimately produce the results you’re looking to receive. How come that happens? Brands are imprints on people. People keep seeing this one brand over and over again – maybe on one site and then another site. Suddenly that brand/book starts to sink in what it’s about. Maybe the first time they saw the book they weren’t in the buying frame of mind. Three days or even three months later they see that book again, but this time they’re in the buying state of mind. The overall “imprint” of that brand/book now produces results.

The reason I tell people, “Do the PR” you’ll get results but sometimes it’s hard to measure where the results come from,” is because that “imprint” can come from several sources. Authors often get frustrated when the “big fish” they finally landed doesn’t produce the sales they would have expected. Keep going. Another part of the results comes from targeted audiences where the message is being received by the right demographic.

I saw this happen with the book A Feast at the Beach by William Widmaier. I was astounded when a two-page spread in the San Francisco Book Review resulted in marginal sales. A month later two well-placed reviews in French Today and Culinate and sales were finally ignited. Why did that happen? The promotion finally reached the target audience – people interested in French-related themes.

The bottom line: book promotion is a process of discovery. Now it may not happen every time. Some books just never resonate with the marketplace. I’ve seen some fabulous books receive over 20 reviews and yet no sales follow. Can I explain why? Sometimes it’s wrong book, wrong time, wrong place. Do you give up? No! Not if you believe in your book. You might try different things: change the cover, change the title, change the pitch. Your goal is naturally to create right book, right place, right time.

All right Friend-Os until next week don’t be a starfish! Be a crab – pinch, pinch.