By k | December 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

New writers
(new businesses)
often ask me
how I built my readership
(customer base).

How did I do it?

One reader (customer)
at a time.
I would talk to them
about 8 times
before they bought my book

Then, if they liked it,
I asked if I could post their comment.
Often they would be so happy;
they’d share that comment
on their own social media.

And word of mouth spread.

Denise Smith,
owner and operator of
Pump It Up,

“We had to develop
relationships with
local child care centers,
after-school programs,
community recreation centers
and others
to create brand awareness
about this new business.

Our strongest small business
marketing strategy
was very grassroots.
In 2005,
while we never missed the opportunity
to place ads in parenting magazines,
word of mouth
was the biggest thing we did.
We found that turning guests
of one party into hosts
for the next
would be our winning strategy.”

Word of mouth is still
one of the most powerful
marketing techniques.
Encourage it!

By k | December 17, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the businesses
I’ve partnered with
all year
usually knocks it out of the park.
I reserve my spot
and then they turn it around
in two weeks or less.

This month,
they’ve told me
it will be two MONTHS
to turn around my request.
They told me this
after having reserved the spot
for months.

It is too late
to find a replacement.
I have to suck it up
and endure the delay
(which will, in turn,
delay my product release).

But that year end bonus
I had planned to pay
this business?
That isn’t happening.

And recommending this business
to others?
That’s not happening either.
If they get busier,
my wait will be even longer.

Messing up always costs
but messing up at year end
will likely cost even more.

By k | December 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

The time between
US Thanksgiving and Christmas
is a horrible time for eBook sales,
my business.

My readers (customers)
aren’t buying my products.
They’re buying print books
and gift cards for loved ones.

They DO, however, appreciate
contact from me.
Some writers send out holiday cards.
I reach out virtually.
I also fuss over their holiday photos,
comment on their posts,
ensure they’re feeling the love.

Amy Ho,
marketing and special events director
Chalk Point Kitchen,

“We also take this time
to engage our customers
on a more personal note
—remind them that
this is the time
to be thankful
spend time with loved ones.”

This is the time of the year
to be a bit more personal.

By k | December 15, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

This is the time of year
during which
many of us are looking backward
and reviewing what has happened.

This can be a worthwhile activity.
We can revisit lessons learned,
good and bad,
and carry that knowledge
forward with us.

The less positive aspect
is the temptation
to muse forever about
the way things used to be,
the good ol’ days,
when sales were easy
and there was no competition.

Those days only exist
in our heads.
Sales have never been easy.
When there was less competition,
we had prospects
who didn’t realize they needed
our products and services.

Thinking about it
for a long time
changes nothing.
We have to work
with the environment
we’re now in,
not some fantasy past.

Don’t get stuck
looking backward.
There are opportunities
in front of us.

By k | December 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Successful business builders
ARE storytellers.

We should be able to
pitch our business, our products,
our services, ourselves
in three lines or less.

We should evoke emotion
in our marketing material,
be able to reach prospects
with our words,
with the images we choose.

Richard Branson

“I have always been fascinated
by the intersection
between storytelling
and entrepreneurship.

who make a difference
are, in effect,
professional storytellers.”

How to do this?
Every story I write
undergoes at least 6 rounds of revisions.
The story for our businesses,
for ourselves,
will likely require more
fine tuning.

This is party season
in many parts of the world,
an ideal time to test
our stories.
When we tell people
what we do
(the usual party question),
do they want to hear more?
If the answer is ‘yes,’
our stories are working.

Perfect your story.

By k | December 13, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I listen to the competition.
I often learn
what is working
and what isn’t working
from listening.

For example,
I give readers (customers)
a short story
every December.

These stories
only make sense to readers
who have read
the other books (products)
in the series.

Writers will contact me,
telling me I’m devaluing my work,
that readers won’t pay for my stories
if I give these short stories away.

Of course, they will.
The readers who pay
for my other stories
are the ONLY people
who enjoy the short stories.

Writers aren’t happy
because they fear
it raises expectations
for them

Which tells me
my strategy is working.
Readers like it so much;
the competition is afraid
it will become the norm.

Listen to competitor complaints.
They might tell you
you’re on the right track.

By k | December 12, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

It is midway
through December,
the last month
of the year.
Now, more than at
any other time,
it is damn easy
to wait.

Wait to get started.
Wait to change.
Wait to make that big push.

It is so very tempting
to ’start’ on January 1st,
the first day
of a new year.

Resist this.
Start NOW.

If you start today,
you’ll be half a month
ahead of your timelines.
You’ll roll into 2018
with some momentum.
You won’t waste
half a precious month.

As Zachary Pousman,
founder of

“When you get to December 31,
you’re already feeling
a bit of momentum on the goal
and you’re not starting
from scratch
while on vacation
or consumed with the holidays”

Start NOW.

By k | December 11, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yet another romance publisher
is closing.

Some of the writers
(raw material vendors)
for this publisher
said they’d like to go Indie
(start their own writing businesses)
but the costs of producing
a book (finished product)
were too high.
Their sales
would never offset
those costs.

Yep, the only reason
they aren’t selling
their books (finished products)
is because the books cost
more than they earn

And they wonder why
their publishers
go out of business.

If THAT’s the reason
you’re partnering with someone,
know that this situation isn’t
Something has to change.

It is better that you make this change
than wait for others
to force this change upon you.

By k | December 10, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I’m one of the co-hosts
for a writing event.
I contributed substantially
to the event.
There are ten of us

Marketing was crafted.
Covers were featured.
Some writers had
two covers featured.

None of my covers
were included
in the promo material.
I wasn’t mentioned
even once.

So I’m not promoting the event.
Because I don’t know
if I’m truly welcome at this event.

I might have been allowed
to co-host
because it would look bad
to deny me
but the organizers didn’t truly
want me there.
It happens.

I’m not bringing my readers (customers)
to an event
where I and likely they
might not be welcome.
That would be foolish.

If you leave a main sponsor
off the marketing material,
it WILL be noticed.
Try to prevent this
from happening accidentally.

By k | December 9, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

If I can’t figure out
how someone is making money
from a business partnership,
I run far, far away.

Often, I can guess.
For example,
writers are currently up in arms
because Goodreads is starting to charge
for contests held on their site.

I expected that.
They were spending resources
on improving how contests
were run.
They were doing that
for a business reason.
Goodreads couldn’t charge
the readers entering the contests.
The other choice
was charging
the hosts of the contests

Figure out how
your business partner
is making money
from the association.