By k | October 31, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

What are you giving out today
for Halloween?
Odds are… candy and gum
or more precisely
lollipops or tootsie rolls.

Halloween is the largest holiday
for confectionery sales
(followed by Easter and Christmas).

The top candy given out today are…

1 - Lollipops
2 – Tootsie Rolls/Pops
3 – Smarties
4 – Bubble Gum
5 – “Fun Size” Chocolates
(with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups the favorite)
6 – Pixy Stix
7 – Sweetarts
8 – Starburst
9 – Caramel Candy
and
10 – Candy Corn

Hhhmmm… I now know
why my hairdresser gives out lollipops
to her younger customers.

Though if you’re targeting older customers,
70% of parents sneak snack-size chocolate bars
from their children’s trick-or-treat sacks.

BTW… Candy and Gum ranked 4th
among all food categories in 2009
(trailing carbonated beverages, milk, and salty snacks).
If you are making a no-candy stand,
know that you’re in the minority.

By k | October 30, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In writing seminars,
we often talk about conflicting motivations.
A heroine may wish to be independent
yet want a family.
She wants to be safe
yet longs to be loved
(i.e. expose herself to pain).

One of the most common conflicts
romance writers draw upon
is the pull/push between safe and free.

The safest people in the world
are prisoners locked up in solitary confinement.
However, they are the least free.
We can’t have total safety AND total freedom.

As entrepreneurs, we know this.
Making our own decisions is scary.
We don’t have the safety
of precedence or authority figures.
We do have more freedom.
Some of us
have carved out so much freedom for ourselves,
we’re called rebels
(i.e. Richard Branson, Rebel Billionaire).

No one is totally free or totally safe.
We fall somewhere between the two states.
However, communication is easier
when we know which a partner/prospect/family member
values more.

By k | October 29, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Envy (or its close cousin jealousy) is bad, right?
It is one of the seven deadly sins.
We should never, ever admit to being envious.

Bull shit.

Whenever I feel envy or jealousy,
I know the feeling is about me
and about what I truly want
(which is often different
from what I think I want).

One of my writing buddies
landed a single title, New York contract.
All of her success is hinged
on this single book.
The concept stresses me out.
I didn’t feel a tinge of envy.

One of my other buddies
landed a series contract with Harlequin.
She is expected to write
several books a year for them,
gradually building her readership.
I was so envious,
I couldn’t sleep the night I heard.
(I was happy for her too,
being happy for others
and being envious isn’t mutually exclusive)

This showed me
what type of writing career I truly wanted.

Envy is a very powerful emotion.
It is true. It is strong.
Use it to show you
what you truly want.

By k | October 28, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I was unsuccessful with my latest round
of the Great Agent Hunt.

I have a personal relationship
with some of the agents I queried.
These agents are professionals.
They have professional pride
in the projects they represent.

Our personal relationship
didn’t come into play with the actual decision.
They don’t feel they can sell
the manuscript
so they rejected it.

Where I saw a return on this relationship
was in the rejection letter.
The other agents sent the standard
‘I am not sufficiently enthusiastic
about this project
to represent it’
which says absolutely nothing.

My agent buddies told me
‘Publishers aren’t looking for demon stories
from new writers.
They have established writers supplying
these stories.’
THAT is feedback I can use.

Don’t expect friends to
risk their reputations
on your substandard product.
You can, however, expect
a more detailed ‘no.’

By k | October 27, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I always start a story too soon.
To grab readers,
writers should start a story
in a place of high conflict.
I have to cut the first page or so
of what I’ve written
to start a story in the best place.

I also always have way more back story
than I need for a story.
I know what the character’s prom was like.
I know what an established couple’s courtship entailed.

This is information
that fans/readers may find interesting
but I can’t sell.

The editor of one of my publishers’ newsletters
is looking for material.
Well… duh… I have material.
So now I send her my extra story pieces.

Everything, including words,
can be used somewhere.
What are you wasting?

AMC is launching a new series.
Most tv series are launched in September.
This series is launching October 31st.

Why?

Because the series is
The Walking Dead,
a show about zombies.

AMC is leading up to the launch
with a collection of popular horror movies.
They’ve changed their tagline from
‘Story matters here.’
To
‘Gory matters here.’
Actors from their already established shows
like Mad Men and Breaking Bad
speak during commercial breaks
about why they love zombie movies.

The support behind the launch
of The Walking Dead
is a new product developer’s dream.

Are you putting that kind of support
behind YOUR product launch?

By k | October 25, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

My city is in the middle
of a fierce battle for mayor.
The top three candidates
have massive teams of enthusiastic supporters.
That’s great.

Except they aren’t organized enthusiastic supporters.
One candidate’s team contacts me
at least once a day by phone.
One day, I was contacted three times.

I feel stalked.
I no longer answer the phone.
I am tempted not to vote for this candidate
simply because he’s a pain in the ass.

More contact is NOT better.
Don’t stalk your prospects.

By k | October 24, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

When I was in the beverage business,
we knew that coupons posted on grocery shelves
were way more effective
than coupons mailed out to homes.
Prospects were in the beverage aisles,
they were looking for a beverage,
and often the 10 cents extra off made a difference
even if our product was 20 cents more expensive.

Now that I’m in the book selling business,
I see clearly that advertising
on a bookseller’s site is exponentially more effective
than advertising on even more popular
reader or author sites
(exponentially because advertising
on reader/author sites sell… well… no books).

If you have a dollar to spend on marketing,
spend it as close to the point of purchase
as possible.

By k | October 23, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I have a buddy who is a conference junkie.
She enjoys sitting in seminar after seminar.
Her brain is crammed full of knowledge.

The thing is…
she never applies this knowledge.
She hops to the next seminar
and saves what she has learned for ‘later.’
Later hasn’t yet come.

I’m the opposite.
I don’t go to many conferences
because sitting in seminar after seminar
is too frustrating.
I need to apply my knowledge right away
or it doesn’t add value to my life.

Darren Hardy has a great post
on the difference between learning and improving.

“It’s not what you learn;
it’s what you DO with what you learn.
Doing has to follow learning.”

By k | October 22, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Being on the great agent hunt,
I receive rejection after rejection
every single day.

It is tough
yet rejection is part of any success.

How do I deal?

I ALWAYS ensure that
I have multiple submissions circulating.
When I get a rejection,
I hustle and send TWO something else’s out.

Keeping the pipeline full
gives me hope
that the next email may be a ‘yes.’

Double filling the pipeline
increases the chances of success exponentially.

And I have zero spare time
to dwell on the rejections.