By k | October 21, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Before I started
my romance novel business,
I crafted a list
of guidelines,
of lines I wouldn’t cross.

For example,
I will never ’sell’ my newsletter subscribers.
I won’t give their information to anyone else.
I won’t use that information to benefit me
in ways the subscribers didn’t intend
(i.e. Promoting my books is okay.
Trying to sell BMWs to them isn’t.)

I had a list of other things
I wouldn’t do.

Every single line has been tested.

I received an email
from a bestselling writer this week.
She wanted to put an ad for one of her books
in my newsletter.
In exchange, I could put an ad for one of my books
in her newsletter.
I would have benefited more from this
than she would have benefited.
Her readership is huge.

I was tempted.
If I hadn’t crafted my list,
I might have accepted
and regretted it.

I did have that list.
I declined
and I feel good about that.
My brand stands for something.
My subscribers can trust me
with their information.

Craft a list
of lines you won’t cross
and stick to it.

By k | October 20, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Recently, a loved one
was asked to speak
at a huge conference
about a technology.

This loved one
is a salesguy.
He isn’t an engineer.
He will never completely understand
the technical workings
of the product he was asked
to talk about.

He asked me
if he should decline
the opportunity.
He felt like a fraud.

I told him
that the organizers knew
who he was
before they asked him.
If they wanted
a techie,
they would have asked
a techie.
They wanted a salesperson
to explain it
in terms
regular folks understood.

When he did his presentation,
he didn’t try to be someone
he wasn’t.
He stood on the stage
and said he was a salesguy,
not a technie,
and here was why he was excited
about the technology.
The audience loved it.
He’s been asked
to do more presentations.

You have an unique angle.
Use it.

By k | October 19, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the reasons
I moved from
publishing with
a large New York publisher
was because the NY publisher
wasn’t changing quickly enough for me.

They wouldn’t allow me
to write diverse characters,
characters readers were demanding.
They wouldn’t allow me
to use the latest marketing techniques.
They weren’t giving me
innovative covers.

My writer brand
looked dated.
It looked irrelevant.

I had to leave that big publisher
or my brand would die.

Tom Weldon,
chief executive of
Penguin Random House UK,

“We feel very strongly
about diversity in publishing.
For me it is a real problem
when we don’t reflect the society
we live in.
It’s not good for books,
or culture,
or commercially.
We are going to become irrelevant.”

If you’re competing against
large companies
(and most of us are),
know that
many of these big companies
aren’t changing quickly enough
for their customers.
Eventually that lack of change
will become intolerable.
That big company will become irrelevant.

As a smaller business,
we, however,
CAN change at the pace
the customer seeks.

Embrace change.
Reflect your customers and prospect.
Be the relevant choice.

By k | October 18, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Every day in the US,
there are approximately 10,926 births
and 7,196 deaths.

Yep, there are
3,730 more babies being born
than people dying.

The news doesn’t depict this
because the news has its own agenda.

To make that agenda happen,
they focus on the deaths.

I’m a romance novel writer.
I sell the happy.
I focus on the births.
That’s what I promote.

Every business makes a decision
about which one they focus on
–the births (the happy)
or the deaths (the not-so-happy).
Either one can be successful
but they determine
what type of customers you’ll have.

Does your business focus
on births or deaths?

By k | October 17, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I’ve been deleting
so-called ‘friends’ on Facebook
because they post
political posts on my personal profile.

I’m a romance writer
under that profile.
I don’t discuss politics
on my page.
Anyone who scans my profile quickly
would realize this.

I’m also Canadian.
Again, anyone who scans my profile
would know this.

If you run an internet-based business,
odds are…
not all of your customers
live where you do.
They live all over the world.

Consider segmenting your lists
if you’re running promo
based on a specific location
(like a political message).
If you don’t,
you look highly spamtastic.

Know your target market.

By k | October 16, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Recently, I posted
a fun, light story
on Facebook
about how an adult loved one
has a favorite pair
of killer whale socks.

I received a long tirade
about how killer whales were orcas,
not killer whales,
and how they weren’t whales,
but part of the dolphin family.

This person likely thought
she was being smart,
schooling me on the difference,
a) I didn’t ask for this information
b) anyone who gives an adult
a themed present
is likely doing this
that adult is a fan of that theme.

In reality,
she looked like
a condescending jackass.

If your expertise is not requested,
don’t assume it is needed.
And just because folks use
the common or simplest words for things
doesn’t mean
they don’t know the proper words for them.

By k | October 15, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Some of my readers
only read 3 star reviews.
If the book only has
4 and 5 star reviews,
these readers won’t use reviews
as part of their evaluation process.

Richard Israel

“When a business’s photos
are a bit too retouched,
their online reviews
are a little too good to be true
and they suddenly amass
a groundswell of
social media fans overnight,
it can be a lot like catfishing.

These actions might initially
seem like good ideas,
but they can leave behind
a whiff of incredulity,
which may put
your reputation at risk.
When your online persona
accurately reflects
the customer’s experience
in the real world,
customers may find you
more endearing
and may be more likely
to frequent your business.”

A few 3 star reviews
or other slight imperfections
might increase your sales.
Don’t stress about them.

By k | October 14, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Much of my success
in life
and especially in sales
is due to persistence.

I rarely wow prospects
on the first meeting
and even if I do,
they usually take more convincing
to buy.
I reach out.
I reach out again.
And again.
And again.
Being friendly.
Offering different information,
different products.
Eventually I capture them.

John Shi,
co-founder of

“A lot of these are
really, really slow-play pitches.
I reached out to
[one university] bookstore
in the spring of 2013.
They placed their first order,
over a year later.
That was just being consistent,
showing growth,
being nice and
a lot of persistence.
Now this person is
one of our closest retail partners.”

Much of success
in sales
is persistence.
Don’t give up.

By k | October 13, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

CoverGirl announced
that they finally have a CoverBoy,
a guy representing their brand.

because almost every guy
on TV
is wearing makeup.
Every singer on stage
is wearing makeup.
They have been
wearing makeup
for decades.

With YouTube and social media,
the number of men
wearing makeup
has increased
even more.

Yet CoverGirl is only NOW
marketing to this huge target market.

I suspect in your industry,
there’s a huge target market
being ignored by the big businesses also.

The opportunities are there.
Look for them.

By k | October 12, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I saw an ad on TV
for a travel site
promoting a Vegas experience.

Are you a foodie?
They’ll put together a package for you.
Are you a high roller?
They’ll do that also.
You’ll spend your trip
living another person’s life.

I thought this was brilliant.

Then I went to the site
and realized
the TV ad didn’t tie into the actual product.
They weren’t selling an experience.
They were recommending hotels.
That’s it.

An experience is EVERYTHING.
It is a great way
to work with other vendors,
to share promotion,
and give customers
a full experience,
from costumes to events to hotels.

As a romance writer,
I sell experiences
in a less comprehensive way.
I have a core product - my novels
and I build around that.
I indulge in character play
in which my readers can interact
with my characters.
Some of my writing buddies
have teamed with make up companies,
with car companies,
with cities where their books are set.

Consider selling an experience
rather than a product.