By k | April 16, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m three months into a six month writing project
(this is the creative part of the project
- the entire project is twenty months).
I have six stories in the serial written
and another six stories to write.

The possible money no longer excites me.
The possible brand awareness
no longer gives me a thrill.
The only thing driving me forward
is passion for this project,
the belief that this story HAS to be told.

Ekaterina Walter
shares

“You will never hear innovators say
“I hate my job!”
or
“I don’t care!”
If you don’t have this key ingredient
– passion coupled with vision
– you will never be able to
overcome challenges and take risks
to push the envelope,
innovate, and grow your business.”

Passion isn’t everything.
No one becomes successful
based on passion alone.
But when times get tough
(and they WILL get tough),
passion is often what pushes us through.

If you don’t have passion for your business,
consider finding a new business.

By k | April 15, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

My next release
with the large New York publisher
is a contemporary romance.
Contemporary romance is a huge category
with many readers
but also many, MANY books published.
There’s a lot of fierce competition
and I haven’t yet broken out,
finding my own large readership.

My publisher gave me a generic cover
with a generic title,
telling me it would appeal to everyone.

That might (emphasis on MIGHT)
be fine in a small market
but in a large market,
trying to appeal to everyone
means appealing to no one.

I pushed back,
asking for a cover and title
targeting one specific subgroup
(military, biker, or billionaire hero loving readers).

The best way to sell in a crowded market
is to make that large market smaller.
Target more niche customers,
capture these customers
and they will help you conquer the rest.

By k | April 14, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I was asked to turn around
a writing project quickly.
I agreed,
assuming that the people
requesting the fast turn around
would assist me
in meeting this very tight deadline.

They didn’t.
They didn’t answer emails.
They sat on their components
of the project.
They asked for changes
AFTER sitting on the project,
expecting me
to complete the changes instantly.

The next time
I’m asked to turn around
something for them quickly,
I’ll say no.

If you want someone
to focus her energies on your project,
turning it around quickly,
ensure that
a) You truly do need that fast turn around
b) You give her the inputs
to accomplish this
c) You respond to her queries quickly
d) You outline the project thoroughly,
eliminating the need for rework
and
e) You have the same sense of urgency.

Asking someone,
even a vendor,
to drop everything and work on your project
is asking her to do a favor for you.
Treat that favor with respect.

By k | April 13, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my buddies
worked minimum wage day jobs
while she was building her writing business.
Her annual income was $22,000.

In the romance writing world,
a writer with books regularly releasing
can replace that income
in 3 years.

My buddy did that
and then took the leap to full time writing
without worrying
about a reduction in her income.

Another writing buddy is a lawyer.
She earns $200,000 a year
at her day job.

It will take decades
for a part time romance writer
to replace that salary.

I suspect this buddy
will never make the leap
to writing full time.
She worries too much
about the reduction in her income.

In industries such as publishing
with low capital costs,
having a low income or little wealth
isn’t a barrier
to starting a business.
It is an INCENTIVE to start a business.
You’re risking very little
for a possibility at success.

My writer friend
- the one who was working
the $22,000 a year day job?
She recently sold a single book
for over a million dollars.

My other writer friend
- the lawyer earning
$200,000 a year?
She continues to earn
$200,000 a year
and dreams of the day
she can write full time.

By k | April 12, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

My best brainstorming is done
within small groups
(less than 5 people).

I find with larger groups,
there’s less contribution.
Participants slide by,
wait for others to suggest ideas,
are hesitant to contribute.

In a small group,
every participant knows
she or he was asked to be there
because the organizer feels
she or he can contribute
to solving the problem.
There are higher expectations
and more accountability.

As Yorgen Edholm,
chief executive of Accellion,
shares

“Sometimes when companies have a problem,
there is a temptation
to throw more people at it.
But that kind of linear mind-set
can kill
a high-tech company very quickly.
In that kind of situation,
my impulse is to take some people
off the project
and unleash the best ones.”

More people is not necessarily better.
Consider reducing the size of the group.

By k | April 11, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Barry Moltz
has a great post
on why entrepreneurs should consider
selfies as part of their marketing campaigns.

“Customers traditionally rank authenticity
as a top trait they seek
when doing business with any company.
Selfies
by their very nature
are personal.
Their content usually says a lot
about the people who work at the company.
They are much more effective
for connecting to customers
than posed photographs.
For example, a selfie of
employees at the office
or a related event can be
a powerful message that says,
“We like to work here,
and we support the company’s mission.”

I don’t post selfies on the internet.
None of my pen names
have my photo attached to them.

What I DO
is incorporate the essence of selfies
into my marketing.
My most popular posts on Facebook
are amusing and candid conversations
between my hubby and myself.
These tie nicely into my products
(romantic relationships between women and men)
and give readers the feeling
that they’re sharing private moments.
(because…well… they ARE)

This could be easily replicated.
We all have bizarre conversations
with loved ones
about our chosen industries
(look at Duck Dynasty
- they have the verbal selfie perfected).

If you don’t wish to post selfies online,
consider posting the verbal/written equivalent.

By k | April 10, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my writing buddies
always gets a zillion reviews
when her stories release.
I asked her how she did it.
Her answer?

“At the end of every story,
I include the line
‘If you liked this story,
please leave a review’
and I give the direct link
to the review site.”

That’s it.
She asks for reviews.
That’s her big secret.

Christopher Litster
suggests methods to gain referrals
in other mediums

“Email.
Add this line to your signature:
“Know anybody who needs help with X?
Send them here,”
with the “here” being
a link to your website.

Newsletters.
Include the following at the bottom
of your newsletter:
“Thanks for reading.
Feel free to pass this along to your friends.”
You can even offer an incentive,
such as,
“Refer three friends and
I’ll send you a
[insert incentive,
such as a coupon or free report]
as a thank you.””

The internet makes it easier
for shy entrepreneurs
to ask for referrals.
Make this process automatic.

By k | April 9, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my buddies fancies himself
‘a great listener’
because he doesn’t talk.

Yeah, no.
Talking with him
is like talking to myself.
When we’re speaking on the phone,
half the time
I wonder if we’ve been disconnected.
I don’t benefit from the conversation
and I suspect he doesn’t either.

Great listeners are active listeners.
They ask questions.
They rephrase information.
They add prompts
or indicate understanding.

As Mind Tools shares

“To enhance your listening skills,
you need to let the other person know
that you are listening
to what he or she is saying.
To understand the importance of this,
ask yourself if you’ve ever been engaged
in a conversation when you wondered
if the other person was listening
to what you were saying.
You wonder if your message is getting across,
or if it’s even worthwhile continuing to speak.
It feels like talking to a brick wall
and it’s something you want to avoid.

Acknowledgement can be
something as simple as a nod of the head
or a simple “uh huh.”
You aren’t necessarily
agreeing with the person,
you are simply indicating
that you are listening.
Using body language and other signs
to acknowledge you are listening
also reminds you to pay attention
and not let your mind wander.

You should also try to respond
to the speaker in a way
that will both encourage him or her
to continue speaking,
so that you can get the information if you need.
While nodding and “uh huhing” says
you’re interested,
an occasional question
or comment to recap what has been said
communicates that you understand the message
as well.”

Being a great listener
doesn’t mean being silent.

By k | April 8, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A loved one recently bought a house.
This was her first house.
Her brother-in-love,
a master negotiator,
offered to negotiate with the seller.
My loved one turned down this offer.
She wanted to do this on her own.

We estimate that ‘doing this on her own’
cost her an additional 30%.
This is what I call
the pride premium,
the price we pay
(in either dollars or time)
when we don’t ask for
or accept help.

You might scoff
and call my loved one silly
but right now, there’s something, some task,
you should be asking for help on tackling
and you’re not.
You’re paying a pride premium.
We all are.

The key is to recognize
we’re paying this premium
and then decide
if our pride is worth this price.

By k | April 7, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Last week,
there was a huge complaint thread
on one of the popular romance review sites.
Readers and reviewers were complaining
about writers behaving badly,
talking about how they’re damaging Romanceland,
causing the decline of the industry.

Being a writer,
I posted a comment
asking them for ideas to FIX this problem.
Silence.
The complaints stopped.

We all know complainers.
They complain about everything,
every idea, every project,
slowing down launches
and
destroying morale.

Complainers rarely suggest solutions
and seldom add anything constructive
to the conversation.

The quickest and most effective way
to silence these complainers
is to ask them
what THEY would do.