By k | April 1, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I recently took a voyage
on Cuba Cruise.
Cuba Cruise has an unique niche.
It is one of the only cruise lines
doing a full circle of Cuba.

That is its sole appeal.
In all other ways,
Cuba Cruise can’t compete
with other cruise lines.
(One small example:
Their toilets can’t handle
toilet paper.
Passengers have to place it
in a waste basket.)

The issue is,
of course,
that the Cuban travel market
is opening up.
Cuba Cruise has a year
or less
to impress passengers,
to make the most
of their niche domination.

Unfortunately,
I saw no evidence
that they were aware
of this window of opportunity.

Don’t be as complacent.
Make the most
of your window of niche domination.

By k | March 31, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In this go, go, go world,
we all want things
to happen instantly.
We want instant replies,
instant action.

That’s great
when you’re paying for a task.
When you’re asking a favor,
time is required.

A loved one wants to use
our house as a hotel.
(i.e. This isn’t a visit.
He merely needs a place to sleep.)
He knew we were out of communication
for a week.
Even though his trip
is over a month away,
he booked his flights
while we were out of communication,
assuming we’d be home during his stay
and able to pick him up at the airport.

Another loved one
wants me to complete her tax returns.
While we were away,
she called three or four times a day,
leaving messages,
asking me to pick up her information.
She has a month to file the returns.

Neither of these instances
makes me super enthused
to grant the favors.

Ask for favors
well in advance of deadlines.
Then be patient
if the favor granter
has deadlines of her own.

If you don’t have the time
to wait,
spend the dollars
and pay for the services.

By k | March 30, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The first romance story
that many new writers write
is a contemporary,
a story set in today’s world
with human characters.
Writing a half decent
contemporary romance
is easier
than writing in another subgenre
because there’s no massive
world building required.
(Writing a great story in ANY setting
is ALWAYS difficult.)

Today,
with the publishing barriers to entry lowered,
there are thousands of contemporary romances published
every week.
Competition is fierce.
Profit margins are low.

However, in the subgenres requiring world building
(historical, paranormal, science fiction romance),
there are fewer releases.
Why?
Because researching or inventing everything
from the utensils the characters eat with
to the scent in the air around them
is damn difficult.
This is where many
of the professional romance writers
have ventured.
This is where the profit remains.

As Seth Godin
shares

“The word economy
comes from the Greek and the French,
and is based on the concept of scarcity.
The only things that are scarce
in the world of connection
and services
and the net
are the things that are difficult,
and the only things
that are valuable are
the things that are scarce.
When we intentionally seek out
the difficult tasks,
we’re much more likely
to actually create value.”

Seek out the difficult tasks.

By k | March 29, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Word of mouth is
one of the best means
of marketing.

I reach out to many romance bloggers
and Facebook page/group managers,
asking their assistance
to promote my books.

How do I decide?
I usually look at Facebook pages/groups
with a certain number of likes/members
(this number depends on
how niche the story or the page/group is).
I look at bloggers
whom I know Tweet or post on Facebook
about their posts.

Dan Fell,
business development director
at
SoFi
shares his list.

“One of the best ways
to assess a brand ambassador’s influence
is to find out
how much site traffic they generate
through their online platforms,
how many followers they have on Twitter,
and how many likes they have on Facebook.”

You can’t reach out to everyone.
There’s not enough time in the day.
Decide before you start your campaign
who you will target.

I like to partner with successful people.
I learn from them.
They inspire me to achieve more.
They understand
what I’m trying to achieve.

How do you spot a successful person?

Barbara Corcoran
Co-Founder
of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners,
shares

“I’ve never met a successful person
who had low energy.
All successful people move
to a certain beat, and
that beat moves forward.
Energized people tend to work faster
and get the job done,
while low energy people
may quietly drain your team
and feed off the bright light
of the energized worker.
I only hire high-energy people.”

Surround yourself
with high energy people.

By k | March 27, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Seth Godin
talks about
how there’s one person
in every group that says

“On behalf of the masses,
the uncommitted,
the ones who don’t care,
we need to dumb this down,
smooth out the edges and
make it more average.
We need to oversimplify it,
make it a bit banal,
stupid even.
If we don’t,
then some people won’t get the joke,
won’t be satisfied,
or worse, complain.”

You and I don’t have to concern ourselves
about producing products or messages
or anything
for the masses.
Not right now.
Maybe not forever.

There are huge corporations
who have assigned themselves
that role.

Our job is to create something different,
edgy,
not seen or done before
(even if this is a small tweak).
If we don’t receive at least one so-called complaint
saying “this isn’t the same as XXX”,
we’ve failed in our job.

Dare to be different.
Leave pleasing the masses to others.

By k | March 26, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In a recent episode of
The Voice,
Pharrell Williams
asked a contestant.
“Do you practice every day?”
She shook her head,
gazing at him
as though this was a unique concept.
His expression back at her?
You should be.
It’s a must-do.

There are myths in every business.

In singing,
there’s the myth of resting your voice.
Non-singers think
that means taking a day off.
It doesn’t.

In writing,
there’s the myth of the muse.
Stories just come to writers.
Yeah, I wish.
It requires hard work,
dedication to craft,
more hard work.

The thing is…
talking about hard work
isn’t sexy.
It doesn’t appeal to the average customer
(especially in the entertainment field).
Your customers don’t want to hear about
the five hundred designs
that didn’t work.
They want to hear about the one
that ‘magically’ did.

That doesn’t mean the hard work
isn’t being done.

Learn the truth about your industry.
Decide whether or not
you should share that truth
with customers.

By k | March 25, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Under one pen name,
I write both
science fiction romance
and
contemporary romance.

My huge New York publisher
sells my contemporary romances
for 99 cents
(yes, ouch).
My smaller publisher
sells my
(same number of pages)
SciFi romances
for $3.00.

My SciFi readers are angry.
When I self publish this year,
I’ll have to price at 99 cents
or face a revolt.

You might think your two (or more)
groups of customers
are ‘different’,
that they might not talk.

They do.
And with the internet,
everything is in the open.

Remember this
when you try tactics
like different pricing
or different terms.

By k | March 24, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I firmly believe in a certain trend
in romance novels.
The big New York publishers
aren’t on board.
They’re not buying these stories.

I asked myself
“Am I willing to risk
NOT taking advantage of this trend?
Will I kick myself
if this trend becomes huge
(as I believe it will)
and I’m not there?”

That’s too big of a risk for me,
bigger than the risk
of going into the trend early
and having to self publish.

John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen,
in
The Self-Made Billionaire Effect
share

“What Producers [self-made billionaires]
are not willing to risk
is the chance to capture an opportunity.
This dynamic creates a critical duality
between the right kind of risk
and the resilience needed
to do it all over again
when the original plan doesn’t work out.”

Would you rather be too early
with an idea
and risk a redo
or miss capturing the opportunity?

By k | March 23, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

A good buddy of mine
is job hunting.
She spent a lot of time
on her resume
and cover letter.

Why?

Because the information
she shares on her resume
will determine the employers
she attracts.

If she puts a lot of detail
in her resume,
she’ll attract an employer
who values the details.

If she places her education
before her experience,
she’ll attract an employer
who values education over experience.

If she’s informal in her language,
she’ll attract informal employers.

Our marketing
is exactly the same way.

If we have angry words
in our marketing campaigns,
we’ll attract angry customers.

If we use multiple decimal places
in our stats,
we should expect to attract
exacting customers.

If you don’t like the customers
you’re attracting,
change what kind of information
you share.